Winner - Urban Initiatives

Sponsored by Galliford Try

Urban Initiatives put up an array of impressive case studies, demonstrating its commitment to and excellence in the regeneration field.

First, Liverpool Lime Street, which will transform the arrival space at the railway station into a major cultural quarter, ahead of the city’s 2008 European Capital of Culture jamboree. Also striking was the Greater Ashford Development Framework. The government has earmarked the town and the immediate surroundings for 31,000 new homes and 28,000 additional jobs over the next 25 years, which will double the size of Ashford.

The final case study was the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin. The firm produced a framework that forms an “activity spine” from north-south and east-west, with a public space at Grand Canal Dock at the junction. In the past year, the dock has become increasingly impressive. Much of this can be attributed to Urban Initiatives’ simple grid-like pattern of streets and spaces.

Founded in 1989, the firm has set out to be “inter” rather than “multi” disciplinary, attempting to blur lines between professions for a holistic approach to regeneration. Urban Initiatives is heavily involved in developing government policy, and has published an array of books, including The Connected City and The Cities Design Forgot.

Runners up

Gardner Stewart Architects

The 55 staff at Gardner Stewart cover architecture, Urban Design and masterplanning disciplines from offices in London and Birmingham.

One of its key current projects is Ingress Park, one of the foremost schemes in the Thames Gateway. Six hundred and fifty homes are already occupied and the practice unlocked almost 1km of waterfront and 23 acres of parkland for public access.

In a glowing testimonial, David Birkbeck, the chief executive of Design for Homes, says: “I don’t believe that there is a practice working in Britain today that has had so little media attention for so much outstanding regeneration work.”

Hopefully this shortlisting will go some way to addressing that.

Jones Lang LaSalle

Undoubtedly one of the big boys of urbanism, in 2005-06 Jones Lang LaSalle advised on UK regeneration projects with a prospective development build of more than4.7 million m2.

The global giant’s regeneration consultancy alone comprises 11 directors and 45 consultants, with an annual turnover of £4m.

Big doesn’t necessarily mean good, but Jones Lang LaSalle was able to demonstrate its expertise to the judges with some excellent case studies.

In its London portfolio, for example, it advised the London Development Agency, London 2012 and the Olympic Delivery Authority on the legacy and preparation of the Olympic masterplan. The legacy proposals were key to the capital securing the Olympics ahead of favourite Paris.

PRP Architects

It’s difficult not to be impressed with PRP. The practice designed 3,250 homes last year alone, and is currently involved in 450 live regeneration projects, worth a combined £1.2bn. Clients are clearly impressed too, with 70% of PRP’s regeneration work based on repeat commissions for social housing.

London mayor Ken Livingstone is a fan, praising the company’s PRP ZedFactor joint venture with Bill Dunster Architects. The joint venture aims to deliver low-energy, near carbon neutral projects, and its first scheme was the £1.5m St Matthews key worker flats scheme in the London borough of Lambeth.

Livingstone says: “The high-quality, low-cost design achieved by PRP ZedFactor at St Matthews set the standard for what we should be achieving in every social housing development in London.”