For those as yet unfamiliar with the WAN Urban Challenge, it is an initiative that seeks to address the reclamation of our city streets due to the predicted demise of the combustion engine and the rise of the autonomous vehicle (AV). This will represent one of the largest transformations of the urban environment since the motor car first arrived. Architects were asked to submit their vision of cities where the streets are newly liberated, demonstrating the profession’s ability to lead the debate.
The highly-respected panel of judges comprised Peter Bishop, Urban Planner and Urban Designer at Allies and Morrison; Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Transport & Parks; John Goldwyn, Vice President and Director of Planning & Landscape London of WATG; Alice Lester, Head of Planning, Transport and Licensing at Brent Council, and Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture and member of the Mayor of London’s Design Advisory Group.
Judges were looking for originality, innovation, quality, sustainability, transferability, context and evidence, plus the ability to tell the ‘story’ of the project through excellent presentation. After considerable discussion, these were the six winners they chose:
WAP! (Washington Alley Project)
Judge ‘Peter Murray was particularly keen on this case study. After observing that the City of London had for a long time been poor at considering how throughways linked to everything else, he said of WAP: “I think it’s that connectivity that’s so important. The fact that they’ve surveyed a wider area so that you can see if you walk here, you’re going to connect to this block or that block. It’s a great scheme.” John Goldwyn found the project ‘fascinating’.
London here we come…