Preston hosts Forgotten Spaces competition

RIBA North West has teamed up with Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, University of Central Lancashire, and Eric Wright Group to launch a competition to devise ideas for re-using vacant sites.

Forgotten Spaces has successfully taken place in London, Newcastle and Sheffield. The North West competition addresses redundant spaces in Preston and invites innovative design proposals for re-use and regeneration. The 2013 competition will give entrants the option to consider specific sites put forward by Preston City Council's planning department as spaces that could be made a part of the community, or select their own site.

The competition asks: How would you bring the area under a flyover to life? How could a disused car park be made beautiful? What potential lies in neglected parks, empty buildings, spaces hidden away or on our rooftops?

A forgotten space could be small or large – an empty unit, a scrubland, a derelict building or underpass or flyover. The proposal could be simple or complex, commercial or public, a piece of public art or a new building, the main requirement is that it responds to the local area and serves a function for the community. Designers are encouraged to engage and work with local groups where possible.

Open to RIBA, RTPI and Landscape Institute members, as well as students, artists, members of the public and community groups across the UK, the competition creates a broad platform for discussion across all age groups and disciplines.

Cllr Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: "We are delighted that RIBA has chosen Preston alongside London to provide the 'Forgotten Spaces' as part of this nationally recognised competition.

"Preston has some fantastic development opportunities and this a great chance for architects to explore Preston's forgotten spaces and view it from a different perspective, providing inspiration to developers, fellow architects and the people of Preston alike.

"We look forward to the seeing the entries and the final selection which will be displayed as an exhibition later in the year."

Angela Brady, president of RIBA, said: "Forgotten Spaces provides a fantastic opportunity for architects and designers to share locally inspired proposals with a wide audience, including local authorities, investors and developers.; it forms a test bed for ideas and discussion on what our cities could and should look like."

The best proposals will be showcased in a public exhibition at the old Post Office in Preston city centre in November 2013, allowing people from all over the city and visitors from further afield to view the projects, whilst providing design professionals and communities with a fantastic platform to exhibit their skills and insight.

RIBA North West will announce the competition winners and award cash prizes with sponsors the Eric Wright Group and Lancashire County Council at the exhibition launch event in November. First prize will receive £5,000, second prize £2,000 and third prize £1,000.

The full Forgotten Spaces 2013 competition brief is available from the RIBA website, see

The deadline for registration deadline is Wednesday 27 March 2013 with the competition closing for entries on Thursday 9 May 2013.

Details of a series of cultivation events and workshops held in partnership with UCLan and Preston City Council will be announced in March.

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