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New RIBA Competition: Design proposals sought to bring life back to Rochdale Town Centre


30 July 2013

Press release contact:

Julia Davies
T: +44 (0)113 203 1490
E: julia.davies@riba.org

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, the RIBA and Places Matter! are challenging teams of urbanists worldwide to be inspired and inspire others in bringing life back to Rochdale’s streets.

The main focus of the competition is on the public realm and ginnels around the revealed River Roch as well as the historic bridge in the Butts. Entrants are invited to think about the wider influence and potential of their proposals in particular how the disjointed parts of the town centre may be reconnected. Rochdale MBC plan to reveal the Roch by opening sections of the river through The Butts and restoring the medieval bridge to transform the centre of Rochdale. The ‘discovery’ of the medieval bridge, unknowingly crossed by thousands of people every day is of the utmost significance and will instil a sense of pride, hope and identify for Rochdale. Design proposals are sought befitting of the historic backdrop to bring life and reconnect the streets of Rochdale.

Councillor Peter Williams, Rochdale Council’s cabinet member for Economic Development and Customer Services said:  “Our exciting plans to re-open the River Roch, will reveal the hidden history of the bridge and the river. Through the International Design Competition we are challenging urbanists to create a high quality public realm around the river reopening, which will enhance the setting of the town’s heritage assets and improve connections north and south of the river.”

Chris Smith, English Heritage’s National Planning and Conservation Director said “English Heritage has long known and valued the assets at the heart of Rochdale and is delighted to be supporting the exciting steps towards further revealing, enhancing and tying together the centre. By aspiring to the quality of creative thinking which an international design competition can unlock, Rochdale shows admirable ambition. I look forward to the further improvement of an already great place.”

Darren Ratcliffe, who is English Heritage’s Historic Places Adviser in the north west and is leading English Heritage's involvement in the competition, added "Working with Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, the Rochdale Development Agency, Places Matter and RIBA to financially support and develop this competition has been a pleasure. I am sure the competition will generate significant national and international interest, we're looking forward to seeing the entries received and to continuing our work in this great town.”

The competition is open to architects, landscape designers/architects, urban designers and heritage professionals worldwide.   Entries from emerging designers are welcomed and encouraged and where appropriate this may require a collaborative approach. Stage 1 entries will be judged anonymously and five teams will shortlisted to proceed to the second stage with each receiving an honoraria payment of £3,000 +VAT. 

For further details about the Rochdale Town Centre Competition and how to register for the competition please visit www.architecture.com/competitions| and follow the link to Live Competitions. Deadline for receipt of designs is 2.00pm on Tuesday 10 September 2013.       

Notes to editors

Please ensure RIBA Competitions are credited when mentioning the above competition. Competitions deliver exciting buildings and projects - they drive up quality, stimulate creativity and innovation and generate a range of options improving choice. RIBA Competitions is the Royal Institute of British Architect’s unit dedicated to organising architectural and other design-related competitions. For further details visit www.architecture.com/competitions|



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