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Press Article

Metro - 05 July 2013

Forgotten spaces in London

By Jo Eccles

London is world renowned for its spectacular architecture – and my tip for anyone admiring our buildings, particularly the older ones, is to look up as most of the detail is above eye level. However, it’s not just historic buildings that are treasured. A fantastic competition set up by RIBA London nearly 3 years ago is seeking to honour unused, overlooked spaces in London.

The competition, “Forgotten Spaces London,” seeks to reinvigorate underused spaces by inviting innovative design ideas for the re-use and regeneration of redundant spaces in Greater London. 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, spaces under railways or on our rooftops?

Entrants can either nominate their own forgotten space, or propose a design scheme for one of five sites selected by London Borough planning departments earmarked for regeneration. Among the finalists, some of the more quirky ideas include public baths in the disused Aldwych tube station, elevated chairs within the trees of the Queen’s Park Estate so the young at heart can enjoy the tree canopy, and a bowling lane and brewery under the Silvertown flyover. There are cash prizes for first, second and third place winners and each will feature in a public exhibition at Somerset House in October and November – one which I will definitely be attending.

My advice for anyone exploring London is to take stock of all the hidden views, garden squares, and wonderful buildings. I love to walk and cycle through London and take it all in, so next time you’re racing through the streets, take a moment to open your eyes and really notice the small detail. It’s incredible when you do.

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