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30 July 2008

Press release contact:

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

Winner Announced for Gloucester's Kings Quarter Public Realm Competition

The winner of the competition to transform Gloucester's largest and most important public space is announced today. Niall McLaughlin Architects and Churchman Landscape Architects were chosen following a multi-stage competition organised by the RIBA for Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company (GHURC).

The competition set the challenge of creating a large modern urban space that would offer the flexibility to accommodate major outdoor events as well as providing a public gathering space and a place to linger in the context of a major retail and leisure led regeneration project in the heart of the city.

The McLaughlin/Churchman scheme is based upon a compelling yet simple idea for a 'square within a square'.The scheme consists of a grid of slate paving platforms which can be independently or simultaneously 'flooded', to provide a forever changing and flexible event-space that captures the essence of the city, celebrates its relationship with the River Severn, and establishes Kings Quarter as the principal civic space. The judges were impressed with the concept, the inspiration behind it, and with the passion and commitment of the design team. The panel was chaired by Les Sparks and included representatives from GHURC and funding partners English Partnerships, South West Regional Development Agency and Gloucester City Council.

Chris Oldershaw, Chief Executive of GHURC, said "The scheme put forward by Niall McLaughlin Architects is innovative and exciting. When the landscaping has been completed, King's Quarter will once again be one of the city's most important areas, lifting the surrounding city environment and giving Gloucester the public space it deserves".

City Council Leader, Paul James, commented: "Kings Square is Gloucester's premier public square and deserves the multi-million pound transformation it is about to receive. I am confident we have appointed a talented design team who will work with the Council, its partners and the wider community to deliver a square of which we can all be proud".

Panel Chair, Les Sparks, said: "The Panel was impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity of Niall McLaughlin and Chris Churchman and the expertise of Peter Dawson, the specialist water engineer. Their skill and imagination will transform Kings Square into an amazing place at the heart of a revitalised city centre".

The design team will now work closely with the competition promoters to design and deliver the project.

Notes to editors

The RIBA Competitions Office organises bespoke architectural competitions that encourage excellence in design, offer value for money, and are run smoothly from inception through to the appointment of a winning design or architect / team. The Office has vast experience of managing competitions for a diverse range of clients, project types and budgets. The competitions process has produced great buildings such as the Millennium Bridge, BALTIC and The Sage Gateshead.  For further information please visit www.architecture.com/competitions



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