Walters and Cohen Ltd have been selected as the preferred architects to design a new café at the Hampstead Heath Lido, London.
The Thirties Lido movement is currently experiencing a renaissance and the Hampstead Heath Lido is a well used resource - both on hot summer days and by a hard core of swimmers who swim 365 days a year. The building was designed by London County Council architects Rowbotham and Smithson in 1938 and now has Grade II Listing status. It is the best representative example of the Lido architecture of the period and one of the few remaining Lidos from a heyday when there were over 60 in Greater London alone. The proposed new café is intended to act both as a sustainable rejuvenation of the pool and as a factor in its changing local landscape environment. Outline proposals of plans for the new café and potential other facilities at the Lido will be submitted to swimmers and other Heath users for their feedback, as part of the extensive consultation on the draft Hampstead Heath Management Plan.
The selection process consisted of three stages - practice profile submissions (21 firms invited to participate) were followed by tailored Expressions of Interest (6 practices), with three of the long-listed teams invited to a final competitive interview. Walters and Cohen Ltd were selected from a prestigous shortlist that also included Bennetts Associates Architects and Studio Downie Architects.
The Selection Panel consisted of a Lido swimmer representative, Officers from the City of London Corporation, a Member of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee, together with an Adviser representing the RIBA. The panel was impressed by Walters and Cohen's experience of working with listed buildings in parkland settings, their design approach, response to the site and the amount of thought the team had already given to the project.
The City of London Corporation look forward to working with Walters and Cohen on the next phase of this exciting project.
Members of the Jury Panel commented thus:
'I have every confidence that the selected architects will produce outstanding solutions to a difficult brief which will enhance the enjoyment of all visitors to the Heath whether they be swimmers or not. The Lido is part of the heritage of the Heath, held in high esteem by swimmers, by local communities and by Londoners. We have great responsibilities to ensure that this heritage is conserved but at the same time we must take on the task of adapting it sensitively to meet the needs of society today. I look forward, with great expectations, to the outcomes of the talents of the architects, Walters and Cohen, in tackling this challenge'.
Michael Welbank (Member of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee of the City of London Corporation)
'This has been an effective and efficient competition resulting in a shortlist of practices, all of whom demonstrated that they could create fine architecture in response to the opportunities presented by the Lido. The selected practice showed an incisive analysis and understanding of design potential, social context and the consultation input required. It was felt that Walters and Cohen will be valuable members of the team that will go on to generate the proposals'.
George Knott (Knott Architects, RIBA Adviser)
'I am very pleased that Walters and Cohen have been selected to assist with enhancing the facilities at the Lido, to help return it to its former glory. They have undertaken work to other Listed structures in Wakehurst Place and Kew gardens and have a great understanding of the need to integrate good architecture into a landscape'.
Simon Lee (Superintendent of Hampstead Heath, City of London Corporation)
Dr Eleanor Kennedy, a year-round Lido swimmer, commented 'This was a difficult decision to make given the very high calibre of the three short listed practices. However, I am delighted that local architects, Walters and Cohen will be taking forward ideas for the Lido café. I am particularly pleased that the architects involved are active Lido users. They have a genuine concern for ensuring that this fabulous local resource is enhanced appropriately and that the process is done in active consultation with swimmers, Heath users and all other interested parties'.