Croydon Canyon Competition, Regeneration, Building, Development, Project, News

Croydon Architecture : South London Regeneration

Wellesley Road & Park Lane, South London, England, UK, design by Field Operations

15 May 2009 – News Update

Croydon Canyon Competition Finalists

Field Operations

OKRA with Peter Brett Associates, Urhahn Urban Design and Karakusevic Carson Architects

Winner announcement due Jul 2009

Oct 2008

Croydon Regeneration


International architectural practices are being invited to meet the challenge of transforming a one-kilometre length of the main route that punctures the heart of Croydon from an urban motorway into an environmentally friendly destination in its own right.

A design competition is being launched at New London Architecture later this week (17 October), in order to select a design team that would develop a comprehensive scheme to replace the canyon-like barrier that Wellesley Road and Park Lane presents as it bisects the town centre.

With the project already accepted as one of Design for London’s 100 public spaces initiative, the intention behind the competition is to find the most creative architectural talent to come up with an inspired solution. Removing the obstacle that the A 212 represents and making it more pleasant for cyclists and pedestrians would be a highly visible way of underlining Croydon’s credentials as London’s third city.

The competition is being run by Croydon Council together with Design for London, the London Development Agency, and Transport for London. The ultimate aim of the project is to transform Wellesley Road and Park Lane into an urban space of the highest quality, which is visually pleasing, people-friendly and full of use and activity.

Tackling the roads builds on the ideas of architect Will Alsop who, in fulfilling his commission to produce an imaginative vision for Croydon, has already questioned the need to maintain the A212 in its current six-lane form. As part of his own critically acclaimed work he showed how the impact could be softened and its ambience made appealing through the introduction of features such as tree planting and water features.

The concept of the route as a tree-lined boulevard, with wide pavements, and high quality furnishings is highly achievable in the council’s estimation. Although ideally, the council would like to see all vehicles excluded from the road with the exception of trams and buses, it is appreciated that the impact of changes to traffic movement will still need to be fully tested.

The council is emphasising that the intention behind the competition is to select a designer rather than a design. The initial stage of the contest is to seek expressions of interest. The launch venue is where the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson – who has promised to give a greater focus to outer London – recently launched the London Towns exhibition.

Applicants are being asked to set out the priorities they believe should be taken into account when developing the Wellesley Road & Park Lane corridor.

Following a pre-qualification stage, which concludes on 1 December, up to four design practices will be invited to submit design concepts which, next spring, will be assessed by a competition jury comprising representatives of the Mayor and council along with leading design professionals including Will Alsop, Joanna Averley, deputy chief executive of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, and Ricky Burdett from the London School of Economics.

Peter Bishop, director of Design for London, and Peter Brown, deputy managing director for surface transport at TfL will also be judging entries.

Two winners will then be invited to take part in a competitive procedure with the aim of appointing a preferred bidder to enter into a contract with the council to develop a complete regeneration solution for the road.

It is planned to appoint a design team in May 2009 and one of the first roles of the winning architects will be to build a detailed brief for the project in consultation with Transport for London.

Once the design has been consulted on, agreed and costed there will be a substantial amount of external funding needed to implement the scheme. A delivery strategy will be developed as an integral feature of the project. However, its scale and complexity means the transformation can be expected to be phased in over a number of years.

Said cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Pollard: “There’s no doubt that in its present state, Wellesley Road and Park Lane create a poor image for Croydon. They don’t work well as a through road and they’re certainly not pedestrian-friendly. Doing nothing will harm our proposals to regenerate central Croydon.

“Staging an international competition is an imaginative way of getting a designer on board who can come up with a world class solution that reunites Croydon and is attractive to those who work here and visit the town. I believe the competition will stimulate enormous interest and will hopefully inspire creative but practical solutions.”

Croydon Canyon Competition Finalists information received 150509

Location: Croydon, London, England, UK

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The estimated value of investment needed to transform Wellesley Road and Park Lane is in the region of £40 – £50 million and could take approximately six years to deliver. The proposals will form part of a wider regeneration agenda in the town centre, complementing the technical masterplan for Croydon Metropolitan Centre.

Speakers included: Will Alsop, SMC Alsop; Councillor Tim Pollard, Deputy Leader, Croydon Council; David Ubaka, Design for London

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