Ian McChesney Ltd, working in conjunction with landscape architect Fenella Griffin, has won the competition to design the new Avenham Park Pavilion in Preston. Funding for the design competition and development work for the pavilion has been provided by the AvenCentral Regeneration Partnership (SRB), the Heritage Lottery Fund and Preston City Council.
Sixty-seven architectural practices (including six from abroad) submitted Expressions of Interest to the first phase of the competition. Ian McChesney's scheme was chosen from a shortlist that included: Design Engine Architects Ltd; Niall McLaughlin Architects; Space Craft Architects and Studio Egret West.
The Jury Panel consisted of representatives from: the three main political parties and senior management in Preston City Council; the AvenCentral Regeneration Partnership; the Preston City Vision Board; Friends of Avenham & Miller Park and Sue Carmichael (Constructive Futures) acting as the RIBA Architect Adviser. The panel was impressed by the passion each team clearly had for the project and the different ways in which they had responded to the design brief. This called for an exciting, innovative building which, whilst challenging previous interpretations of pavilion/park structures, would respect the historic landscape of Avenham Park. Choosing a single scheme proved a difficult task, but the panel felt that Ian McChesney's proposal was an outstanding response. The design was considered to have an almost ethereal beauty, with its organic sculptural shape nestling into the historic setting of the park, rather than being imposed on it. Ian McChesney's concept proposal was also a clear favourite with the public when the schemes were exhibited anonymously in Preston.
The design for the Avenham Park Pavilion will form part of a Stage 2 Submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the restoration of the park. The pavilion will be one of the first new buildings in a programme of major projects being led by Preston's City Vision Board and should set a standard of excellence for others to follow. Construction (subject to successful funding) is scheduled to commence in 2006.
Members of the Jury Panel commented thus about Ian McChesney's design proposal:
'The new pavilion is an important part of the multi-million pound scheme to restore Avenham Park. The bold design was clearly the most popular choice and will be a stunning centre piece in the park. The challenge is to ensure that we secure the Heritage Lottery Funding to make it happen.'
Cllr Veronica Afrin, Executive Member for Regeneration, Community & Leisure, Preston City Council
'The RIBA competition process has given the City the opportunity to assess many wonderful designs for the new Pavilion. All the finalists presented excellent concepts, and there was much debate and careful consideration in coming to a decision as to the eventual winner. Ian McChesney's design is innovative and flexible, and will be a key feature in the development of Avenham Park, not only for the City, but for the surrounding region.'
Richard Davies, representing the Friends of Avenham & Miller Park
'From the strong and imaginative shortlisted entries, this elegant, sinuous and functional solution is an outstanding response to the diverse challenges of the brief. Interacting with and enhancing both riverside and park, the pavilion should become a popular visitor attraction and an appropriately memorable architectural landmark in the City of Preston.'
Sue Carmichael, RIBA Architect Adviser
'The pavilion is modern, graceful, elegant - almost ethereal - and very appropriate for its historic park setting.'
Cllr June Dodd, Member of the Regeneration, Community & Leisure Services Review Board
'I find the pavilion a very exciting concept and in the evenings it will be particularly spectacular, set against the river and the park. It will become a landmark for Preston.'
Cllr Neil Cartwright, Chairman of Regeneration, Community and Leisure Services Review Board
'In my opinion, the chosen design is both beautiful and practical - an appropriate pavilion for such an outstanding park'.
Russell Howard, representing the Preston City Vision Board
Ian McChesney's scheme attracted the following comments during the public consultations and exhibition of the anonymous design proposals:
'The organic curves of this really imaginative building suit the site. These allow views into the building, which should make people want to go in and have a look. It should act as a magnet for visitors of all ages.'
'Impressive modern building shows that Preston is moving with the times. Glass walls give it an open/airy feel. Attractive café overlooking the river is a nice feature and bound to be popular.'
'Looks modern and unusual which should be good for the city.'
'Curved form and staggered roof fit in well with the surrounding nature and the pathways. Use of glass allows you to look through whole development – no barrier effect.'
'The funky shape and the roof is cool and modern.'
'Would be striking from the top of the hill as you entered the park'.
'It makes a modern statement, but blends in well and enhances natural perspective. Should complement other features in the park.'