Winner of Leicester design competition announced

The winner of an architectural competition that aimed to generate ideas for a derelict island site in Leicester has been announced. 

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects’ proposals for a mixed-use scheme of low-impact living, self-build homes, small businesses, open space and woodland on Soar Island was chosen from a shortlist of five by a panel of judges chaired by RIBA Adviser Glenn Howells of Glenn Howells Architects. 

“We were delighted by the response to the competition, both by the range of ideas and the quality of thinking about how the site could transform this important part of the city,” said Glenn Howells.

SWA’s ideas stood out from the other entries because their proposal was diverse and rich, integrating heritage, landscape, ecology, and architecture together with a range of activities that could draw people to the site and create a strong identity for the riverside area as well as the island itself. What this competition aimed to achieve was to generate interest in the Soar Island site – and inspire potential developers to come forward with their own proposals for the regeneration of Leicester’s Waterside.

We congratulate SWA on their imaginative interpretation of our brief and look forward to seeing if their ideas can be delivered as part of the future development of Soar Island.” 

London-based SWA Architects – who win a £5,000 award – said: “The vision for our project, which combines housing, work and leisure activities, is for a new city quarter set apart but connected to the town. It proposes an environment where wildlife and humans coexist in a sustainable landscape surrounded by water, supported by an economy based on low-impact living and working. We are delighted to have been selected as winner for the Soar Island competition.” 

The competition was organised by RIBA in partnership with Leicester City Council – which is keen that Soar Island becomes a focal point of Leicester’s Waterside regeneration area. 

WAN’s Business Information project lead team published this project in January 2015, please see the brief here. For FREE trial contact us on

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