Ken Livingstone invites MacCormac Jamieson Prichard to draw up plans for 2 km promenade to rival South Bank.
London mayor Ken Livingstone has appointed MacCormac Jamieson Prichard to reshape part of the northern bank of the Thames.
The Victoria embankment masterplan, which covers a 2 km stretch from Westminster bridge to Blackfriars bridge, will create a promenade to rival its counterpart on the other side of the river.
Livingstone wants the revamped area to knit together the South Bank and Jubilee Gardens, home of the London Eye, with Trafalgar Square and the royal parks.
Victoria embankment is one of the 10 pilot projects in the mayor’s “100 Public Spaces” programme, which aims to open up areas for pedestrians.
MJP, which is known for its work at BBC Broadcasting House, will work with consultant Alan Baxter & Associates over the next three months to draw up proposals. These could include opening up Somerset House to the river and creating a dedicated walkway.
The MJP team fought off competition from an international shortlist. The other entries included one from consultant Atkins, which had hired B of the Bang designer Thomas Hetherwick, and Studio Egret West, the firm set up by Will Alsop’s former star architects Christophe Egret and David West.
US firm Kohn Pedersen Fox with West 8 also entered, as did MBM Architects and Lifschutz Davidson with Urban Initatives.
John Fannon, a member of the mayor’s architecture and urbanism unit, which is headed by Lord Rogers, said the winning team would be required to produce a coherent strategy for the whole area.
He said: “They’ll produce a vision for the area, working out the traffic issues and the heritage values of the parks. The scope of the study extends to the other side of the river.”
Fannon added that the area had been neglected because of the main road running along the Thames embankment. He said the scheme would make it more visitor-friendly.
He said: “We have been really successful at establishing a public space on the South Bank. The north bank is dominated by cars but it has better sunlight. There’s scope to make it much more interesting.”
MJP’s success comes at a turbulent time. Before Christmas managing partner David Prichard, a key equity shareholder with Sir Richard MacCormac, announced that he intended to set up his own practice, taking some architects with him.
It is not yet known whether MJP will change its name. The third partner, Peter Jamieson, retired five years ago.
A spokesperson for MJP confirmed it had won the Victoria embankment competition. The judging panel included Transport for London, the City of Westminster and English Heritage, as well as Livingstone’s Greater London Authority.