Finalists named in Lakes housing contest

Five architectural practices have been shortlisted in the RIBA competition to redevelop the Mark House and Park Nightclub site at Whitehaven harbour in Cumbria.

The finalists for the £10m residential-led scheme by Magnus Homes are:

  • Austin-Smith:Lord
  • Renato Sarno Group and Proginvest
  • Richard Murphy Architects
  • RMJM Scotland
  • Shed KM Architects

The event is being run by RIBA, with the support of Places Matter! the architecture centre for the North West, on behalf of local developer Magnus, which has already built apartments on a site across the road in an earlier project.

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The five teams were selected following an anonymous appraisal of all 139 schemes submitted to the first stage of the open competition, which included a public exhibition of the design proposals in Whitehaven.

The judging panel consisted of representatives from Britain's Energy Coast West Cumbria, Copeland Council, Magnus Homes, Places Matter! and Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, together with Manchester-based architect Stephen Hodder acting as the RIBA architect adviser.

Frank Lowe, programme director at Magnus Homes, said: "I was astounded by the response to the competition and visited the exhibition on numerous occasions ahead of the judging session so that I could absorb the various approaches proposed for our site. The five schemes we selected all have the potential to create exceptional developments which will transform the harbour-side."

Stephen Hodder, RIBA architect adviser and director Hodder & Partners, added: "The five shortlisted schemes in their different ways integrate the town with the harbour-front in an appropriate, but contemporary way. I am convinced that any of the schemes could become a worthy addition to Whitehaven."

The shortlisted proposals will be displayed in Whitehaven in early November and judges will select the winning team by the end of that month.

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Hmmm – visited the exhibition and its hardly ‘anonymous’ – a ‘signature’ scheme from one entrant, and some handily recycled – and therefore indentifiable – research for another project (elsewhere in the same town) by another firm in their entry. Interesting schemes though – good luck to all.

By Charles Prince

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