Summer Speculations

Published: October 25, 2017

Announcing the winner of our summer design competition.

One of the key themes at the heart of Culture Mile is the idea of ‘bringing the inside outside’ – transforming the streets with artistic interventions and unique events.

Running throughout August, our Summer Speculations design competition offered you the opportunity to put forward your own innovative ideas for how we could achieve this – with the prize being the opportunity to actually bring your idea to life.

Entrants were asked to identify spaces or opportunities within Culture Mile to ‘bring the inside outside’, with a focus on innovative design, and architectural or structural changes that could be implemented within the Culture Mile to create an impact on the area’s existing built environment. They were also asked to propose site-specific ideas, based on the area and the cultural activity that takes place there, with an emphasis on imaginative, speculative responses to brief. The winning applicant would then get the opportunity to actually deliver their proposal within Culture Mile.

Of the many entries we received, all of which were of an incredibly high standard, six were shortlisted, with the winner announced today as design studio Spacehub. Find out more about their winning idea, ‘Beacons, Interventions, Connections’, as well as the other five shortlisted entries below.

Spacehub – ‘Beacons, Interventions, Connections’ – winner

Spacehub’s entry was born out of a need for better wayfinding and making the most of outdoor spaces in the City.

There are three elements: Beacons, Interventions and Connections. ‘Beacons’ placed at cultural institutions and key viewpoints guide audiences through Culture Mile. At each of these points, ‘Interventions’ bring activities and events out into the public realm. ‘Connections’ improve pedestrian links and help in negotiating the complex streetscape of the area, drawing visitors towards the City’s cultural establishments.

As the winner of the competition, Spacehub will deliver their proposed idea in Culture Mile in 2018, with more details to be announced in the near future of when and where their installation will be open to the public.

The Bakerloos – ‘Barbicanisms’ – Highly commended

 Summarising their entry, The Bakerloos wrote:

The Barbican is the identity-establishing protagonist of Culture Mile – the estate imposes itself inescapably on its surroundings. Iconic snippets of the interior worlds – following the idea of bringing the ‘inside out’ – serve as mobile, multifunctional incubators: what about a living room concert along Beech Street, playing from a mobile penthouse loggia raft? What about turning a Lauderdale Tower balcony into a theatre stage, or taking an outdoor cooking class in a displaced Barbican kitchen in Speed Garden? The Barbicanisms orchestrate the existing, but underused public spaces of Culture Mile in novel ways, reintroducing the domestic scale into the urban.’

Hawkins Brown – ‘Culture Cloud’ – Highly commended

A travelling temporary installation, Hawkins Brown’s ‘Culture Cloud’ could be inflated at key locations and along new routes linking the venues of Culture Mile. The Culture Cloud could then be used as an informal performance space that promotes pop-up activities and cultural events. It would be a multi-use portable pavilion that acts as a wayfinding tool through its joyful colour and recognisable shape.

MUTT – ‘Smithfield: Jamboree!’ – Shortlisted

The Bartholomew Fair was Britain’s largest annual jamboree from its inception in 1133 to its final curtain in 1855. MUTT’s proposal looked at reinstating the fair to its original site at Smithfield Market, suggesting an alternative future for the space as a vibrant Culinary Quarter in Culture Mile.

Pilbrow & Partners and Space Syntax – ‘The Eye of the Needle’ – Shortlisted

Pilbrow & Partners together with Space Syntax proposed The Eye of the Needle, a new pedestrian route through the Culture Mile. Twelve slender steel masts mark the route, like needles in a map. Distinctive in form – tapering triangular polished obelisks that sparkle in the day and glow softly at night – the masts would be eye-catching landmarks in their own right, as well helping to highlight hidden gems, interesting architecture, historical sites and cultural activities within Culture Mile. Going through one of the City’s richest historical, cultural and social districts, the route is an opportunity to increase accessibility of the public areas of the Barbican and interconnects three public spaces: The Barbican Piazza, St Giles Cripplegate, and the green space surrounding the Roman Walls and the Worshipful Company of Barbers.

99 Studio – ‘Musical chairs’ – shortlisted

A play on the name of a great party game we all enjoy, 99 Studio’s Musical Chairs idea looked at transforming existing and proposed street furniture into musical instruments. There would be a variety of designs that offer the public the opportunity to make music, allowing them to add to the soundtrack of London. Each piece of furniture would allow anyone and everyone to make the sound of a musical instrument and experience what it might be like to be a music student from the Guildhall School, or play with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican.

Other entrants to the competition:

Denton corker marshall
Collective Works
Living Street Theatre
McGregor Coxall
Thomas Clark
Richard Kennedy

Interested in seeing your ideas brought to life within Culture Mile? Keep an eye on the Culture Mile website for future competitions and opportunities.