A linear park bringing light into the centre of the Victorian viaducts which carve through riverside central London has won first prize into an international architectural competition.
The 'Light at the End of the Tunnel' competition, created by Cross River Partnership (CRP) and Spacia sought creative and viable architectural ideas for restoring London's railway viaducts, attracting 53 entries from six countries.
A free exhibition of the results will run, as part of National Architecture Week, from Wednesday 22 to Saturday 25 June in restored viaduct arches in Wootton Street, near Waterloo station.
The competition was won by The Facility, a practice based in Bermondsey, just around the corner from the viaducts. It submitted ideas for a linear park to unite the two sides of the viaducts and create open space for community use. The proposal also outlined how the viaduct could be used for new commercial and residential space to create a diverse city environment.
In second place was FXV who proposed an elegant solution creating mixed-use space focusing on leisure uses such as galleries and theatres.
Third prize was shared by Lewis and Hickey who suggested prefabricated units to create new space using pods that can, in places, be pulled out to increase capacity and Carey Niemen Architects for a sculptural proposal uniting the two sides of the viaduct to create a hub for the creative industries.
The competition was managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects and forms part of a wider strategy to transform the viaduct.
Savas Sivetidis, director of CRP, said: "This competition will change the way the we think about the viaduct and speed up its transformation. All the winning entries were outstanding but the judges decision on The Facility was unanimous – it challenged conventional use and design."
Ian Campbell, director of Spacia, commented: "We were very impressed with the quality of entries submitted and the creativity and design innovation which came through in the proposals. The short listed entries really demonstrate the flair and talent in developing a new vision for the viaduct and I look forward to seeing how the regeneration of this important structure will take shape."
Chair of judges and RIBA Adviser Keith Williams added: "The winning entry intrigued the judges with its proposal to bring light into the centre of the deep archway and the idea of introducing a linear park connecting neighbourhoods was widely liked, At both a strategic and detailed level this scheme stood out from the rest."
Claire Price of The Facility said: "We are delighted to win such a prestigious competition. We now look forward to working with CRP and Spacia on this important and exciting project for London."