Lido wins Forgotten Spaces Preston

Two Liverpool students' idea of turning an unused stretch of canal into a city lido has won the RIBA Forgotten Spaces top prize of £5,000.

Aynsley Gray and Jamie McAllister's design, called canaLIDO, focused on bringing back to life the Lancaster Canal Basin by creating a sense of community through the construction of an outdoor swimming pool and meeting place. The winners are studying architecture at Liverpool John Moores University.

On winning, Gray and McAllister said: "It was a big surprise, but we are extremely pleased. We did not anticipate even a mention after viewing the other proposals at the exhibition, it was a very strong shortlist and gives an exciting prospect of creative minds in the North West."

They added: "We enjoyed having the opportunity to specify our own brief and make it as fun and creative as we wanted. We think the people of Preston would love it! We hope to continue this creative community approach in any future prospects that may arise, keeping people at the forefront."

The Royal Institute of British Architects announced the winner of the Forgotten Spaces competition in Preston at an event on Wednesday evening.

The competition saw architects, students and designers put forward ideas which would re-connect redundant and neglected spaces across Preston with the community. The competition was for ideas only and was not intended to commission the plans.

However, the RIBA said it hoped that the entries would provoke discussion amongst landowners, local authorities and investors about grass roots regeneration.

Second place went to Shelf Life, a project to transform Avenham car-park into a multi-storey farming estate.

Woven in Cotton, a plan to bring life to the forgotten weinds, medieval passage ways, and yards through the creation of a craft market and fashion show.

The judging panel included RIBA President, Stephen Hodder, Bob Allies of Allies & Morrison, Architects Journal news editor Richard Waite, architect Alex McCrickard of the Eric Wright Group, Places Matter! design review manager Charlotte Myhrum, and Creative Tourist editor and founder Susie Stubbs.

Stephen Hodder said: "The judges had a difficult task in choosing a winner but unanimously agreed on canaLIDO. The idea captures the spirit of the mid Twentieth Century lidos, and whilst a relatively straightforward idea, the entrants have clearly put a lot of thought into how it could be executed. It would certainly re-engage the local community with the canal basin."

All of the shortlisted entries will be displayed in an exhibition on show at 50-52 Lancaster Road in central Preston from today until 15 November, between 12 noon and 2pm. Times are subject to change, please check for up to date information.

Forgotten Spaces Preston was sponsored by the Eric Wright Group, Booths and Lancashire County Council, and supported by Preston City Council, the University of Central Lancashire and the North Lancashire Society of Architects.

Full details of winners and commendations


FIRST: canaLIDO: Aynsley Gray & Jamie McAllister

canaLIDO is focused on bringing a dying canal back to life and reinventing the dilapidated canal basin using the historic concept of a lido. It will also bring activities in the surrounding area together in one place.

SECOND: Shelf Life: OSC Design – Oliver Beasley& Chris Blake

A multi-storey farming estate comprised of farmers markets, a pick-your-own supermarket and education facilities, specialising in innovative farming practices.

THIRD: Woven in Cotton: Luke Petty & Gillian Harrison

Fabric produced and dyed on site is woven through forgotten weinds, yards and alleys to create shelter for a craft market and fashion show that celebrate Preston's textile heritage and creative future.


Crayarc Calder PeelcraYarc: Calderpeel Architects – Kathryn Timmins, Shona Scales, James Mellor, Michael Park, Patrick Taft, Ewen Miller & Andrew Lightfoot

TheAvenham Viaduct cantilevered extension hosts craYarc, a White Clawed Crayfish 'Arc' site which rears the native crayfish in preparation for river restocking. craYarc seeks to rebalance the Ribble Ecology and reconnect Prestonians with the River.

Promenade: Daniels Thiede Architects – Ralf Thiede, Caroline Barker, Jack Doyle & Mike Daniels

The sculptural quality of the car park is celebrated by a looping board walk reminiscent of a seaside pier which wraps itself around the existing structure.

The Water Grocers: a Floating Market and Community: Andrew Lees with FFLO. Claire Fernley and James Fox

The proposal is a new combined model of dwelling, economic activity through an independent farmers' market, and a new transient urban space in the form of a floating market square. This transforms the dead end of the canal into a vibrant destination.

Your Comments

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Wonder if much thought went into a business plan, running/revenue and maintenance costs and a full options analysis around what a public authority would have to cut/not do to enable this to be funded in perpetuity. Probably nothing of the sort.

By Cynic

Your name is well and truly appropriate. May as well not come up with anything unless it’s providing a utilitarian basic function eh? You must live a pretty miserable life if the only things you ever dream of are limited to meeting basic functional requirements. Don’t happen to work in the public sector by any chance do you…

By Nick

Probably not, then again, they probably weren’t asked to.

By Kevin

If I did , I’d have gone home by now.

By Cynic

Of course they didn’t consider running costs etc read the article properly Cynic. I bet you wear beige clothing, live in a noddy box and drive an Austin Alegro. If it wasn’t for things like this life would be dull indeed. Go on Cynic have a Solero and …..;live a bit, failing that Russia is a 4hr flight east of here they have plenty if beige and grey there Bah humbug and it isn’t even Christmas yet:)

By Beige Hunter

Wow…great scheme…creativity alive and kicking in the north west. Eat your heart out Denmark…

By Fan Dance

UPDATE: Adds quote from the winners

By Ed

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