London Festival of Architecture: City of London School Competition | Deadline [first stage]: Midday, Friday, December 18, 2020

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At the LFA, our competitions are an important part of our mission to democratise the discussion around architecture. Now, we’re pleased that our Collaboration team will be also running competitions as New London Architecture to build upon this, expanding with a joint competitions programme and a wider range of opportunities for our friends and supporters to get involved in.

London Festival of Architecture

New London Architecture (NLA) and the City of London Corporation have launched a new open call competition to find a design team to take forward a major redevelopment programme at City of London School. The competition is a unique opportunity to transform one of London’s most prestigious schools, on one of the most prominent sites in the City of London. 

The open call competition is open to architecture practices all shapes and sizes, including teams of smaller and medium-sized practices who are being actively encouraged to join together to bid for the project, which has an estimated project cost of £19 million.
City of London School was founded in the fifteenth century and is one of London’s leading day schools. The school’s current building – on the City of London riverfront beside the Millennium Bridge – dates from 1986 and is one of the City’s most recognisable buildings. Facilities have changed little since then, however, and development is now essential to accommodate increased pupil numbers and to allow City of London School to grow and thrive. 
A masterplan completed in 2019 identified a range of new facilities to be delivered over a series of phases, and work is now under way on an initial phase to provide improved sports and dining facilities. The City Corporation and the School are now working with NLA to find the design team that deliver subsequent phases, and in doing to maximising the use of the School’s site and delivering multi-use spaces and classrooms which are flexible, inviting and inspiring. In particular the masterplan has identified the following elements for delivery:

  • A new courtyard building located on the existing playground, providing around 1,200 sq.m of classroom and office space;
  • Improving circulation and access around the playground and the wider school campus;
  • Refurbishing part of the main school building to provide improved Junior School accommodation;
  • Extending the main school building to enhance science teaching facilities;
  • Refurbishing and remodelling existing space to create a new sixth form centre and common room, administrative and pastoral facilities, alongside sports changing facilities;
  • Reconfiguring the design technology and computing building;
  • Opening up and enlarging circulation space within the main school building.

The winning team will be one that can help City of London School become a flagship in renewable energy use and greening, and to promote environmental consciousness across the school and the City of London. The design team will be required to consult with multiple stakeholders, and to execute a well-planned programme of works that meets the School’s timetabling requirements and allows the school to remain on site with minimal disruption. 
The deadline for the first stage of the competition – requiring teams to complete prepare and expression of interest and complete a selection questionnaire – is midday on Friday 18 December 2020. Up to six shortlisted teams will then be invited to develop a design concept for the project and awarded an honorarium of £1,000. It is expected that a winning design team will be identified in March 2021. 
All information for entrants is available on the capitalEsourcing portal here

Tamsie Thomson, managing director of New London Architecture, said:
“This competition is a fantastic opportunity to work with one of London’s leading schools, and to make a real difference on one of the most important sites in the City of London. The competition has been carefully designed to make it accessible for teams of all shapes and sizes to enter, and we want to see as many practices entering as possible. In keeping with New London Architecture’s work to broaden opportunities for architects in London we are actively encouraging collaborations, and want to see a really broad and diverse range of talent coming forward.”
Alan Bird, Head of City of London School, said:

“This redevelopment will provide additional teaching space, whilst facilitating the use of modern and emerging technologies to support teaching and learning.It will also provide the scope to work increasingly closely with other schools across the City of London Family of Schools, through increased partnership and enrichment activities.The project will also demonstrate our commitment to developing a school building that embraces its environmental responsibilities. We look forward to working with the chosen architect to develop a proposal that will meet the needs of all our pupils, and excite and inspire for many years.”

Featured Image: City of London School by Wayland Smith via Architects’ Journal

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