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Competition: London Bridge wayfinding

The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has announced an open international contest to rethink a triangular public space outside London Bridge Station (Deadline: 5 June)

Open to architects, designers and artists, the competition seeks innovative proposals for a £23,000 installation intended to improve the streetscape and assist wayfinding for visitors arriving in the area from the station. which recently received a £1 billion overhaul by Grimshaw.

The project, backed by Team London Bridge, aims to transform the ‘busy but unremarkable’ plot on Tooley Street into a space where pedestrians can reorientate themselves around the area’s many hidden landmarks including the riverside, City Hall, Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market.

The triangular public space outside London Bridge Station

The triangular public space outside London Bridge Station

The triangular public space outside London Bridge Station

LFA director Tamsie Thomson said: ‘Hundreds of people pass through London Bridge station every day, and this competition is an opportunity to demonstrate how good design can make a difference even in everyday spaces. We are grateful to Team London Bridge for creating a brilliant opportunity to champion design talent in London, and to foster positive and lasting change to London’s public realm.’

Nadia Broccardo, executive director of Team London Bridge, said: ‘As people navigate their way around the new London Bridge station, we have a chance to alter their preferred routes and behaviours through clever public realm design. This competition offers someone the chance to have their design seen by millions of people every year, and encourage people to use routes with cleaner air while providing more pleasant ways to explore London Bridge.’

London Bridge Station is one of the oldest railway stations in the world and today handles around 50 million passengers every year. The ancient area surrounding the station is extremely densely developed with a mix of new and old buildings which can make first arrivals and wayfinding confusing.

The competition focuses on a small triangular site on Tooley Street directly between the entrance to London Bridge underground station and the iconic 1932 St Olaf House by Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel. The competition aims to deliver a lasting legacy for the area which upgrades the surrounding streetscape and helps to overcome some of London Bridge’s wayfinding challenges.

The triangular public space outside London Bridge Station

The triangular public space outside London Bridge Station

The triangular public space outside London Bridge Station

The call for submissions is the third to be launched by the LFA this year, which announced a separate contest for a series of £800 public benches in the City of London in March and for a temporary pavilion outside the Dulwich Picture Gallery in February.

Judges for the latest competition will include Thomson, Jack Skillen from Team London Bridge, dRMM director Jonas Lencer, and Southwark Council head of highways Matthew Hill. Shortlisted designs will be exhibited in June and an overall winner will be revealed in July.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 3pm on 5 June

Contact details

Email: andre@londonfestivalofarchitecture.org

Visit the competition website for more information

Rainham Station-Viking Way passage case study: Q&A with What If: Projects

The London practice discusses lessons learned creating a new wayfinding installation for Rainham in Essex, England

How did your project improve the streetscape and enhance wayfinding for visitors to Rainham?

Rainham Station and Viking Way passage represent two public realm schemes realised as part of the wider transformation of Rainham Village, steered by the GLA and the LB Havering. The schemes have brought a sense of identity to these formerly underused and uncared for spaces and provide improved orientation for the village and connectivity to the Thames Estuary and the wider Essex landscape.

Rainham Station installation by What If: Projects

Rainham Station installation by What If: Projects

Rainham Station installation by What If: Projects

Rainham Station forecourt underwent a low-cost and effective remodelling, which responds to the areas increasing popularity with walkers and cyclists, providing cycle parking and signage indicating distances to points along the river. Located at the villages’ southern edge, this complex station forecourt area is now a welcoming space for the 1.25 million train passengers that use the station annually. While acting as a masking device for station equipment the new black timber screens form a defined forecourt incorporating places to sit and shelter, a new access ramp and secure cycle parking. It creates a backdrop for stencilled wayfinding graphics that offer links to local walking networks and cycling routes and places of local interest.

At the northern gateway of the village, the Viking Way Passage project delivered impactful enhancements to the public realm at the Royals youth centre with new planting, seating, play elements and stencilled graphics. This pocket park was adjusted on a small budget and in collaboration with local youth groups, Rainham Hall and trainees from Havering College.

Rainham Station installation by What If: Projects

Rainham Station installation by What If: Projects

Rainham Station installation by What If: Projects

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a wayfinding installation for London Bridge Station?

Our advice is to develop a relevant narrative; to think both about who your audience is and also the critical places, connections or things that you think are important to reveal. At Rainham, we focused on promoting cycle connectivity and the amazing resources local landscapes can offer; outside the ‘Royals’ we devised a set of playful templates of wildlife species found in local green space.

Wayfinding doesn’t need to be all ‘shouty’ text and pointy arrows; it can be subtle too and exploit many different types of techniques, media and materials.

Viking Way installation by What If: Projects

Viking Way installation by What If: Projects

Viking Way installation by What If: Projects

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