Pictured: Concept Sketch by Proctor and Matthews Architects, The Looney Studio and Cloud X
We’re thrilled to announce the shortlisted teams for ‘People at the Centre of Brixton’, a design competition we launched earlier this year in partnership with Lambeth Council and Brixton Business Improvement District (BID). This competition invited proposals for an intervention at two key public spaces in the centre of Brixton: Atlantic Road and Windrush Square.
Prospective applicants were asked to re-imagine these key sites, testing alternative scenarios that will improve the experience of businesses, residents and visitors to Brixton, as well as propose solutions for how these common spaces could be used and inhabited in the future, becoming open, safe and accessible to all. Though temporary, this competition is rooted in an eagerness to improve the pedestrian experience in Brixton.
The judges looked for proposals that tested solutions which have potential to influence the future, while also considering Brixton’s rich cultural and historical past; home to the Windrush Generation, the Uprising in 1981, radical thinkers and activities which have shaped generations.
The shortlisted design teams are:
AWMA are a Brixton based Design and Architecture studio made up of founders from under-represented groups. Telling stories through Art + Architecture, they have a track record with community based projects with many undertaken in Brixton itself as well as across the UK and the world.
Founded by Arberor, Wasim, Mohammed and Abderrahim, the collective explores key themes prevalent within social, cultural, economic and urban realms with work that connects people and places.
Since their inception in 2017 they have developed a people centric approach to public realm projects which have enabled participation from a diverse range of community groups that have actively shaped the outcomes. Recent examples can be found from previous London of Festival of Architecture themes, ‘Who cares?’, ‘Brixton Boundaries’ as well their first public buildings, the completed ‘Masjid Ar-Rahmah Mosque’ in Mardan, Pakistan and the ongoing ‘Ifftin Library’ in Adado, Somalia.
Brixton Community Cinema with Bamidele, Farouk & Livia
Brixton Community Cinema is a pop-up film screening project conceived by Abiba Coulibaly, a film curator who has contributed to cinema programmes at the BFI, the ICA, and the Barbican, and is currently a pre-selector for Open City Documentary Festival and curator-in-residence for LUX Moving Image. Its objective is to bring affordable international and independent film to a community who, despite immense cultural contributions, face uneven access to arts institutions. Occupying vacant spaces in Brixton, the cinema screens a range of film genre and format which foreground subaltern voices and experiences, and showcase the breadth of experimental approaches to using film as a medium of expression and protest. Abiba obtained an MA in Urban History and Culture from the University of London Institute in Paris, was a participant in the 2021 cohort of New Architecture Writers and has experience as a research assistant with Mæ Architects.
Bamidele, Farouk & Livia are a collective of designers and artists living and working in South London, with an ambition to collaborate with different groups and communities in their projects. Despite practising and sharing backgrounds in architecture, much of their work has crossed into disciplines of art, film, exhibition, education, and curation. Together they’ve worked on a number of design and engagement projects with Dulwich Picture Gallery, Tessa Jowell Health Centre, San Mei Gallery, the Blackfriar Estates’ community gardens with creative collective Blak Outside, The White House in Dagenham, and the residents of Harry Lamborn House in Southwark.
Power Out of Restriction, known as POoR Collective, are a socially-minded organisation that focuses on the development of communities through the elevation of young people. POoR sees the power of the younger generation and seeks to get young voices heard. Through knowledge sharing and design, POoR aims to bridge the gap between communities, bring together a wealth of demographics and empower the youth of today.
Their varied, community-focused projects have a common aim: to empower those who are often under-represented and to inspire young people as to what’s possible and available for them. POoR Collective’s vision is a world where youth see no limit. Success to them would look like a real cultural shift in how young people view their own agency in the built environment, how they chase opportunities to have their voice heard, and for many venues to open up for them to pursue that.
Proctor and Matthews Architects, The Looney Studio and Cloud X
Proctor and Matthews Architects have formed a collaborative and multidisciplinary team for this competition, with Brixton-based set designers, The Looney Studio, and Brixton-based music entertainment company, Cloud X. The team collectively values collaborative practice and local engagement to produce authentic and tailored outcomes.
Leading the team at Proctor and Matthews is Johannah Fening, an Architect and Social Value Coordinator who is enthusiastic about inclusive urban developments in the public and private sector. Together with Silvia-Raisa Simeria, an Architectural Designer and Visualiser, she will work alongside the founding directors of the studio, Stephen Proctor (a long-time resident of Brixton) and Andrew Matthews. The studio’s extensive portfolio of completed projects derives from focussed studies into cultural and historic contexts and identity.
The Looney Studio is a set design and build company co-founded by Sofia Sacomani and Jasper Levine. The studio designs, manages, and produces large-scale sets and installations for clients such as LVMH, Google, Warner Music, Netflix, BBC, BFI and many more. Sofia’s knowledge of design processes and her creative eye combined with Jasper’s expertise in technical planning and execution make the perfect duo.
Cloud X, co-founded by David Dabieh, is an international music entertainment company built around a Brixton-based record label and recording studio. Set up by LGBT & POC founders, they platform exceptional artists and develop their genius. They are committed to being diverse, inclusive & progressive.
Sandwich Club and Narrative Practice
Sandwich Club (SWC) is a multidisciplinary design collective focused on creating spaces which have meaning to the people that live and work in them. With backgrounds in landscape architecture, skatepark design, spatial design, graphic design and community engagement, we define spaces with meaning as those which bring people together and reconnect them to the natural world.
Narrative Practice (NP) are an architectural design and research platform. The studio aims to engage in dialogue around global storytelling and speculates on the futures of the built environment as a cultural and theatrical space. Led by Architect and Director Dhruv Gulabchande, NP since 2020 continues to provide complimentary mentoring to those from unrepresented backgrounds.
We Rise x CarverHaggard x Tisserin
The project is a collaboration between three Brixton organisations; a youth-led team coordinated by We Rise, working with support and mentoring from CarverHaggard and Tisserin Engineers.
We Rise is an award-winning Brixton-based community business with a mission to empower young people to create successful futures. They provide disadvantaged young people with opportunities to develop skills, confidence and connections to access high value and creative work, through inspiring project-based work experience programmes.
CarverHaggard is a design and research practice led by Josh Carver and William Haggard. They deliver public benefit through positive solutions to complex problems and work with critical optimism, practicality, and rigour. Their local work includes the new home for 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, which won a RIBA London Award in 2022, and recent public realm projects include Greenhill Place in Harrow and the community-led redesign of North End Road in Fulham.
Tisserin is an emerging structural and civil engineering practice who believe in creating great structures and reducing waste within the construction industry. Tisserin is led by Bola Ogunmefun, a chartered structural engineer and educator who grew up in Lambeth and spent much of his youth in Brixton. Tisserin’s recent projects include the Lloyd Leon Centre on Coldharbour Lane, the Rising Green Youth Hub in Wood Green, and mentoring a group of young designers for the People’s Pavilion project.
The judging panel for round 1 was:
- Rosa Rogina, London Festival of Architecture, Director (Chair)
- Gianluca Rizzo, Brixton BID Director
- Binki Taylor, LFA Curation Panel 2023, The Brixton Project
- Dawn Bunce, Lambeth Council
- Tim Gledstone, Partner at Squires & Partners
- Jessica Dyer, Content Curator of Make It in Brixton, Brixton’s Creative Enterprise Zone
For round 2, the judging panel will also include Lisa Anderson from the Black Cultural Archives on Windrush Square. The judging for this 2nd round will take place at the end of this month; in the meantime, the shortlisted teams will be working on developing their proposal.
Congratulations to all shortlisted teams! We can’t wait to see how your designs develop for round 2.