London Festival of Architecture launches River View competition


The London Festival of Architecture, in partnership with the City of London Corporation and Illuminated River Foundation, has launched a competition to encourage greater public interaction with the River Thames. Subject to planning consent, the winning design will be installed as part of the London Festival of Architecture and Illuminated River Project in June 2019. As the London Festival of Architecture explores ‘boundaries’ as its theme for 2019, the competition is an unmissable opportunity for architects, landscape architects, artists and designers to address how the public can engage with the River Thames – seen by many as London’s largest boundary.

The Illuminated River project is a free public art project on an unprecedented scale which will eventually see 15 bridges across the Thames illuminated by artist Leo Villareal. The project runs alongside Fantastic Feats: The building of London – a year-long cultural programme by the City Corporation in 2019 that celebrates London’s built environment and a number of significant anniversaries and events including the 125th anniversary of Tower Bridge and the arrival of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail). The River View commission forms a central element of this programme, exposing the winning team to a huge public audience during what promises to be one of London’s most exciting events.

Four sites on the north bank of the Thames are proposed for the project: outside Fishmongers Hall, Angel Lane, Southwark Bridge by Vintners Hall, and the City of London School. The project must deliver a site-specific intervention for one or several of the sites, and could be modular for several sites or specific to an individual location.

Entries will be judged by an expert judging panel comprising:

  • David Bickle (partner, Hawkins\Brown)
  • Nick Bodger (head of cultural and visitor development, City of London Corporation)
  • Melanie Charalambous (group manager, public realm, City of London Corporation)
  • Andy Downey (partner, Elliott Wood)
  • Sarah Gaventa (director, Illuminated River Foundation)
  • Edwin Heathcote (architecture and design critic, Financial Times)
  • Stella Ioannou (director, Sculpture in the City)
  • Tamsie Thomson (director, London Festival of Architecture)

Tamsie Thomson, director of the London Festival of Architecture, said:

“The River Thames defines London, yet over the centuries has gone from being the artery of the capital to one of its biggest boundaries. In 2019, as the London Festival of Architecture explores ‘boundaries’ and Illuminated River transforms how Londoners and visitors see the Thames, we’re thrilled to offer an unmissable opportunity for architects, artists and designers to create something that reconnects people with the river. This is a competition that demands an ambitious and imaginative response: I’m looking forward to seeing the entries but even more excited to see River View in place in 2019.”


Graham Packham, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

 “This unique competition throws down the gauntlet to design something special on the Thames Riverside Walkway, essentially, an opportunity that many of the capital’s fines creatives should find too hard to resist. I am looking forward to seeing how architects, designers and artists rise to the challenge of building a structure that is accessible, engaging and pleasing to the eye, and as the brief suggests, connects people to the capital’s iconic river.”


Sarah Gaventa, director of the Illuminated River Foundation, said:

“We hope that this competition will result in some creative solutions to the lack of public seating and access on the Thames Riverside Walkway. The commission will provide more opportunities for the public to linger and enjoy spending time by the river, as well as refocussing attention on the river and the bridges across it.”

The deadline for expressions of interest is midday on 1 November 2018. Further information and submission requirements is available at

For the full Open Call go here (pdf).

When you are ready to submit click here. [COMPETITION NOW CLOSED]

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