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London Festival of Architecture and the Royal Docks launch fifth and final edition of Pews and Perches design competition

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Winning benches from 2023 © Luke O’Donovan

The London Festival of Architecture and the Royal Docks Team have launched the fifth and final edition of the Pews and Perches design competition, which will see six bespoke public benches delivered throughout the Royal Docks in 2024.

The competition is open to architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging practitioners who are invited to deliver bench proposals that explore creative ways to use and reuse materials and take inspiration from the Royal Docks, its proximity to the water and the communities who live there.

Following the Mayor of London’s vision of London transitioning to a circular economy set out in the draft London Plan earlier this year, proposals should creatively embrace, explore and test circular economy principles in their design. Designers can respond to this prompt in a variety of ways and push the boundaries of flexible or adaptive design. What are the past or future lives of a bench’s materials? Designers are encouraged to re-think ‘waste’ as ‘resource’ (re)use local materials creatively in the bench designs.

Six winning designs will be selected, with winners awarded £2,200, including a design fee of £500, to develop, build and install their bench in the Royal Docks. If you’re interested in entering the competition you can attend an online drop-in session on 25th October 11am – 1pm. Register here if you would like to attend.

Applicants are invited to submit their applications by midday on 21 November on Zealous, using the button below.





We are using zealous.co to administrate our application process. To submit your expression of interest for this competition, you will need to set up a free login on zealous which will enable you to begin your submission as a Draft and save it as you go. You can find information about how to submit via zealous here.

Full details on this opportunity can be found on zealous, but you can also download the brief by following the links below:



Dan Bridge, Programme Director of the Royal Docks Team said: The Royal Docks Team is delighted to collaborate once again with the London Festival of Architecture on the Pews and Perches competition. Every year, I have been amazed by the ambitious and innovative designs crafted by a diverse group of exceptionally talented aspiring architects and designers.  The winning teams have consistently produced remarkable and thought-provoking benches, skilfully responding to both the project brief and to the distinctive history, heritage and landscape of the Royal Docks.

This year’s brief touches on one of the most pressing issues of our time.  It will challenge the designers to think creatively about how the built environment can play its part in  fostering a more sustainable London and I’m really excited to see what ideas come forward.”

Eliza Grosvenor, Head of Programme, London Festival of Architecture, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the Royal Docks team on our fifth and final Pews and Perches competition this year. Forming part of our LFA2024 programme, this year focuses on what we can learn from the next generation of designers, by giving them the opportunity to test out and embrace circular principles in a live public realm project. We can no longer continue to design and create as we have been, and this project can play a role in how we can rethink ways of working with materials, spaces and processes – a mission we are very grateful to the Royal Docks for sharing.”

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