LEX Walsall Waterfront, Developer, Regeneration, AWM, Building, Architects, Info
LEX – Walsall Waterfront, Midlands
West Midlands Design Competition by Urban Splash, England, UK
24 Nov 2008
Walsall Waterfront Development
MOH selected as architect at Waterfront site
Urban Splash has announced Vienna based practice MOH Architects as winners of the Lex competition in Walsall.
The competition, run with RIBA, called for architects to deliver an innovative new concept which would stand on a 2.1 acre site within the Walsall Waterfront scheme.
MOH was selected because of its ability to bring out what is special about the site and use the waterfront location to its full potential. The outline design comprises four low level buildings which will stand at the Northern end of the site. The buildings will align the waterfront and will contain a mix of residential and commercial units as well as public courtyards and private residential areas.
Images below from MOH, 281108
Jörg Hugo of MOH, said: “We are thrilled to have had our designs selected and are really looking forward to working with Urban Splash, its partners and the local community to refine the proposals.”
MOH were selected following an intense judging process involving six other practices, with Uxbridge based Kirkland Fraser Moore coming a very close second. Judges included acclaimed architects such as Will Alsop, Glenn Howells, the man behind Urban Splash award winning Rotunda scheme, and Hazel Rounding of shedkm. Also on the panel were key Walsall Council figures, Ben Reid of the Walsall Regeneration Company, Peter Murray of English Partnerships and Stuart Kirkwood of Advantage West Midlands.
Urban Splash was represented by chief executive Jonathan Falkingham and Midlands managing director Nathan Cornish who said: “The panel was looking for a concept which was right for Walsall, something which would not only complement the Waterfront plans, but also come up with a vision that would work this waterfront site to its full potential.
“The calibre of entries was incredibly high and we were delighted to see such a strong interpretation of our requirements. Not only was MOH’s winning design superb but there has to be a special mention to runners up Kirkland Fraser Moore for their stunning entry as well as Type O, an exemplary young practice whose ingenuity and creativity is extremely exciting for the industry.”
Councillor Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This is fantastic news and a truly inspiring idea for a development that will continue the exciting work at the Waterfront. With our partners it was always our intention to create a new quarter within Walsall based on architectural design of the highest order and this continues the trend.”
Walsall Waterfront text from RIBA 241108; Images from MOH, 281108
Lex Competition – Description from MOH, 281108:
The competition site is characterized by two very distinct spatial qualities. With its southern border directly connected to the tranquil waterfront and its northern edge linking up with a main traffic artery, it is about connectivity and exposure just as much as it is about calm plazas and beautiful vistas. Focusing on this qualitative bipolarity the design proposal suggests a two-fold strategy:
Firstly, the building envelope is designed such that it effectively delineates the afore-mentioned domains without preventing a natural and continuous circulation throughout the site. The resulting dichotomy allows for fostering the two existing qualities independent from one another – to credibly co-exist on a very confined area. Secondly, the strands constituting the urban form react to the different local conditions. While connecting both of the afore-mentioned qualities in one continuous movement, they adopt to the varying urban conditions in section: Façade inclinations, building depths, window area, floor-to-floor height etc. constantly adjust in order to support the given urban context.
principals: Jens Mehlan, Christoph Opperer, Jörg Hugo,
project team: Jörg Hugo, Christoph Opperer, Jens Mehlan, Sabrina Peters
Urban Splash Launches International Architecture Competition
for LEX, Walsall Waterfront
13 Mar 2008
Urban Splash is inviting the world’s best architects to come up with ideas for its latest site, known as LEX, at Walsall Waterfront.
Teaming up with partners Advantage West Midlands (AWM), Walsall Council and Walsall Regeneration Company (WRC), Urban Splash have launched an international design competition to find the best ideas to further enhance Walsall’s reputation for attracting some seriously exciting architectural practices.
The competition was officially launched on 13th March at the world’s largest property exhibition, MIPIM, in Cannes.
Urban Splash is already on site with phase one of the Walsall Waterfront development. Located next to the New Art Gallery, designed by Caruso St John, phase one comprises six new buildings designed by award-winning architects, SMC Alsop, shedkm, and Feix Merlin. The new vision is to create a new town quarter for Walsall comprising new apartments, offices, retail and leisure space, a 630-space car park and high quality public spaces.
Sitting a little further down the canal from the phase one site, LEX will form the second phase. Partners, AWM, WRC and Walsall Council, have invited Urban Splash to produce plans for the triangular site that is bordered on two sides by canals.
Tom Bloxham MBE is chairman of Urban Splash and will officially open the competition, ‘Our inspirations for this site are typically high. We’re looking for excitement, flair, and imagination – basically we’re looking for the defining piece of architecture for Walsall.
‘With phase one including incredible architecture such as Stilts and Oysters, we’re keen that phase two will deliver more buildings that are equally successful in their combination of form and function.’
Already cleared, LEX stretches to 2.26acres (0.19ha) and sits on the junction of the Walsall Canal and the Walsall Town Arm. Some of the uses Urban Splash would like to see include possibly a hotel, conference facilities, flexible leisure/performance space and great public realm, along with residential, offices, bars and restaurants.
Nathan Cornish is Managing Director of Urban Splash Midlands, ‘A gateway location, the LEX site is a blank canvas framed by fantastic canals. We’re looking for that wow factor. We’re not looking for the biggest names, but the most exciting designs! The architecture needs to reflect our ambition and reinforce the great buildings that are already being created in Walsall.’
Stuart Kirkwood, Development Director at Advantage West Midlands, said: ‘We recognise the importance of cutting-edge and sustainable design and the strong working partnership we have forged with Urban Splash has resulted in the magnificent Fort Dunlop development.
‘This is a great opportunity for Walsall to benefit from the Urban Splash expertise. The creation of such a world-class development is vital to the future of Walsall as a thriving and vibrant market town of the Black Country and wider West Midlands region.’
Walsall Regeneration Company (WRC) is focusing on delivering the town’s renaissance through the promotion of effective partnerships. Chairman Ben Reid said: ‘These are exciting times for Walsall with work underway on the Waterfront, a new hospital and a new college and plans submitted for the major business centre: Walsall Gigaport. Innovative design proposals for the LEX site will provide further evidence of the renewed confidence in Walsall as a town for enterprise, a fun place to live, work and play.’
Walsall Council has been firm in its commitment to attracting the best developers and architects to the town. Michael Tichford, assistant director for regeneration at Walsall Council said: ‘We see Walsall’s future reflected in an inspiring built environment. With developments such as the New Art Gallery and the Dyer-designed new college, we’ve already benefited from the vision of architects including Caruso St John and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.
‘Having worked with Urban Splash on phase one, we know they share our vision and excitement for Walsall. We want to work with them to develop a fitting future for this important site. This new competition will continue the wave of momentum already being created in Walsall and particularly the continuing regeneration of the town centre.’
Open to registered architects or designers in collaboration with other design disciplines, the competition comprises three stages:
Stage One (March 2008) : Submission of site plans, site sections and elevations to describe the thinking and approach. The judging panel will then choose a shortlist of up to six designs.
Stage Two (June 2008) : The shortlisted anonymous designs will be displayed in the Walsall Art Gallery for local people to provide their feedback.
Stage Three (June/July 2008) : Will involve an interview with each shortlisted finalist. This will give the selection panel the opportunity to interrogate the thinking, the ideas and the brilliance. It will also give architects the chance to sell their dream. The winning practice will be announced shortly afterwards.
As well as the winner securing the commission for the work, monetary prizes will be awarded to all shortlisted architects.
Further information about the competition and how to enter can be found in the RIBA’s ‘preliminary briefing paper’ (see www.architecture.com/competitions) or on www.lexwalsall.co.uk, the dedicated website for this competition.
International Architecture Competition for LEX, Walsall Waterfront – info from Urban Splash 130308
Location: Waterfront Way, Walsall Waterfront, Birmingham, UK
Birmingham Architectural Walking Tours : city walks by e-architect
Birmingham Architecture Designs – chronological list
Walsall Waterfront Regeneration
ShedKM + Querkcraft
Walsall Library : Bentley Community Library Competition
Urban Splash Birmingham Project : The Rotunda Redevelopment
Other examples of Walsall Architecture welcome
Urban Splash Project : Tutti Frutti Manchester
Buildings / photos for the Walsall Architecture – LEX Waterfront Competition page welcome
Website: Walsall, England