English towns regenerate together

Tuesday 01 Dec 2009

Community spirit on a grand scale as final winner of Pennine Lancashire Squared announced

Judges yesterday announced the sixth and final winner in a competition that aims to bring world class design to six towns in the UK's Lancashire county. The announcement by Stirling Prize winner and competition chairman Stephen Hodder that London-based Neu Architects in collaboration with LOCI design was selected as the sixth winner marks the completion of the first stage of one of the most ambitious architectural competitions ever held in the UK.

Commissioned by regeneration agency Elevate which has been leading a massive housing renewal programme in the North-East of Lancashire, the “Pennine Lancashire Squared” competition attracted entries from 78 architectural practices around the world to design concepts for squares in Accrington, Bacup, Blackburn, Burnley, Clitheroe and Nelson.

Stephen Hodder said, “No one has ever attempted anything on this scale before. Six resolutely independent towns all working together in a transformational way on a single architectural competition. The creative response from the architectural community has been amazing. These squares are not cookie-cutter solutions dusted down off some architect’s shelf. They are living, breathing spaces which are about the people of these towns and their lives.”

The competition winners range from the creation of a 'secret landscape garden' in Blackburn to a dramatic cast iron curve in Accrington telling the story of the town. Neu Architects join Landscape Projects; Civic Architects & Colour: Urban Design; Studio Weave and MESH Partnership; Robinson Landscape Design with Reid Jubb Brown & Kapok and DSDHA to continue in the next stage of the competition. This stage will see the architects integrate the designs into ongoing plans for town centre regeneration. The Pennine Lancashire councils will be working with a new Development Company on economic and housing developments that will transform the traditional mill towns.

Councillor Michael Lee, Chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Leaders and Chief Executives said, “Pennine Lancashire Squared has challenged all of us charged with representing our areas to think creatively about the future we want for our towns. It’s about taking the best of who we are and reinventing ourselves for the future. Sometimes people in the North bemoan the lack of interest paid to our area by the outside world, but here we have a concrete example where 78 architectural practices from around the world have applied their creativity to Pennine Lancashire’s future. We are very pleased with the results. The point now is to get them built.”

Yvette Livesey of Livesey/Wilson Associates who came up with the Pennine Lancashire Squared concept with her late partner, Tony Wilson said: “The leaders of Pennine Lancashire were far-sighted enough to see from the beginning that regeneration is about more than just buildings. It’s about people and it’s about culture. Tony would be very pleased to see our vision of bringing world-class architecture to this important corner of the North West reach this significant new stage.”

The Pennine Lancashire Squared project is supported by Places Matter! the Architecture and Built Environment Centre for the Northwest and Arts Council England North West. Representatives from each of these organisations were on the judging panels, and remain involved on the steering group. CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), the UK Government's advisor on architecture urban design and public space, continues to provide strategic enabling support to the organisations involved in developing and delivering PL2.

Key Facts:

Urban design
United Kingdom

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