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Shortlist announced for the redevelopment of the Mark House and Park Nightclub site, Whitehaven

21 Oct 10 The five short-listed teams are announced today for the competition to redevelop the Mark House and Park Nightclub site, which lies adjacent to Whitehaven harbour.

This circa GBP £10m mixed-use development of luxury residential apartments and high quality office accommodation will continue the dramatic transformation of Whitehaven’s former working port which has taken place over the past decade.  The competition is being organised on behalf of Britain’s Energy Coast West Cumbria and Magnus Homes by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Competitions unit, with the support of Places Matter! the architecture centre for the Northwest.

The five teams were selected following an anonymous appraisal of the 139 schemes submitted to the first stage of the open competition, which included a public exhibition of the design proposals in Whitehaven.  The short-listed teams (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Austin-Smith Lord LLP
  • Renato Sarno Group Srl and Proginvest Srl
  • Richard Murphy Architects
  • RMJM Scotland Ltd
  • ShedKM Architects 

The Judging Panel consisted of representatives from Britain’s Energy Coast West Cumbria, Copeland Borough Council, Magnus Homes, Places Matter! and Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, together with Stephen Hodder (Hodder + Partners, Manchester) acting as the RIBA Architect Adviser.  

Frank Lowe, Programme Director at Magnus Homes Ltd said:“I was astounded by the response to the competition and visited the exhibition on numerous occasions ahead of the Judging session so that I could absorb the various approaches proposed for our site.  The five schemes we selected all have the potential to create exceptional developments which will transform the harbour-side.”  

Stephen Hodder, RIBA Architect Adviser, Hodder + Partners commented: “The five short-listed schemes in their different ways integrate the town with the harbour-front in an appropriate, but contemporary way.  I am convinced that any of the schemes could become a worthy addition to Whitehaven”.  

Stuart Cowperthwaite, Director at Britain’s Energy Coast West Cumbria added: “The competition to transform this prime site on Whitehaven’s picturesque harbour is beginning to gather pace, with a hugely impressive 139 schemes now whittled down to five, led by high calibre teams of international renown.  The competition has truly captured the public imagination and, like them, we want to see a design that creatively mixes the town’s rich architectural heritage with its ambitions for the future - something which local people can be proud of for generations to come.”  

Celia MacKenzie, Chief Executive of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners remarked:"The standard of the schemes put forward in this competition, for this significant site between the Harbour and Town of Whitehaven, have been truly outstanding. The five short listed schemes have come through very thorough scrutiny, and the result are five schemes selected from national and international architectural teams, providing for exactly the high quality development that Whitehaven deserves. The winning design will undoubtedly enhance the regenerated Harbour but equally important connect it further with the Town.  This is a most exciting opportunity for Whitehaven's future."   

The second stage of the competition will involve a further exploration and refinement of the design proposals in response to feedback from the Stage 1 assessment.  The developed proposals will be displayed in Whitehaven in early November 2010.  Comments arising from the public exhibition will again be used to help inform the Judging Panel’s decision when they reconvene to select the winning team in late November 2010.  The winning scheme will need to be capable of setting a benchmark for creative, contextual design and achieving a sustainable development of long-lasting architectural quality.

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