A team led by Glenn Howells Architects has been chosen as the winners of the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre design competition. The result was formally announced in the City by HRH The Princess Royal earlier this month.
Launched in October last year, the competition set out to give Stoke-on-Trent people a city centre to be proud of. Over the next 10 to 15 years the regeneration plans add up to £1.2 billion investment to create up to 6,500 jobs in new commercial retail and leisure developments and a modern transport interchange. The £20m budget for public realm (the subject of this competition) is funded from Stoke-on-Trent City Council and its partner the regeneration agency Advantage West Midlands (AWM).
Glenn Howell's winning scheme proposed the introduction of a series of bold new landmarks into the city centre streets. These contemporary shapes will help launch a programme of new activities, and could contain a huge variety of attractions from cafes to market stalls and from fountains to butterfly houses. Three principal areas of the City have been redesigned to create a pedestrian friendly, safe and secure environment throughout the city that will enable and encourage lively and positive street activity by day and by night.
Elected Mayor and Jury Panel Member Mark Meredith said: "Developers, retailers, local people and visitors should be clear that the Council is serious about transforming the City – this project will help raise the profile of the area both nationally and internationally and overcome any negative perceptions about the City".
The Glenn Howells team was chosen following a multi-stage process which culminated in presentations of ideas and proposals by six shortlisted teams. All finalists showed outstanding quality, but the Howell's scheme was a clear favourite with the judges. RIBA Architectural Adviser and Jury Panel member Anthony Barnett said : "This scheme isn't just a makeover, it's a high-voltage jump-start that will bring much-needed activity and enthusiasm back onto the streets. Stoke understands the need to re-energise its city centre – the commitment to delivering this exciting initiative is impressive."
The next stage will involve extensive consultation with local businesses and the public to gather their views on the ideas proposed.