RIBA Forgotten Spaces exhibition creates a 'site for ideas' in the hidden depths of Somerset House

On 4th October the Royal Institute of British Architects launches a captivating architecture exhibition at Somerset House, exploring imaginative uses for abandoned spaces across London.

The exhibition will feature 26 of the best proposals from the hugely popular Forgotten Spaces ideas competition, alongside a selection of completed regeneration projects across the Capital.

The exhibition itself opens up some of Somerset House’s own hidden spaces and corridors.  It explores the background and context of the competition winners and provides a thought provoking tour of London’s overlooked places. These include proposals for elevated chairs in urban treetop canopies, a zoo in the decommissioned gas holders at Bromley by Bow, an events space on floors 24 – 30 (the satellite platforms) of the iconic BT Tower, a public pool in a disused tube station at Aldwych and the revival of the forgotten River Fleet at St Pancras Gardens. The full shortlist can be viewed on the RIBA London website www.architecture.com/forgottenspaceslondon

From Somerset House’s Great Arch Hall, through the winding Courtyard Lightwells, to the atmospheric Deadhouse, the audience will discover the full story behind each entry.

Designed by architecture practice - Studio Glowacka and communications designers Thomas Matthews, the exhibition draws inspiration from the construction phase of a development project, where the temporary enabling works are the transition between the empty site and the physical reality of the project. Likewise, it is hoped the exhibition will provide the framework and platform for some of these innovative ideas to come to life.

Members of the press are invited to book a press preview of the Forgotten Spaces exhibition 13.00 -17.00 3rd October, or join the competition winners at the main Private View (18.45 -21.00 on the same evening). RSVP by 1 October essential. The RIBA will announce the winners of the competition and award cash prizes alongside project partners Qatari Diar, Ordnance Survey and the Mayor of London, at 19.00. First prize will receive £5,000, second prize £2,000 and third prize £1,000.

The exhibition will be open to the public daily, 10.00 – 18.00, 4October – 10 November 2013. Entry is free and accessed via the Great Arch entrance on Victoria Embankment. Check Somerset opening times for full details.

The RIBA London Forgotten Spaces project is partnered by Qatari Diar, Ordnance Survey and the Mayor of London and is supported by the Royal Town Planners Institute (RTPI) and the Landscape Institute.


Dates:  4 October – 10 November 2013

Opening Hours:  10am – 6pm Daily.

Address:  South Wing, Lightwells, Deadhouse and Great Arch Lobby, Somerset House, London, WC2R1LA. Access via Victoria Embankment entrance

Admission:  Free

Transport: Temple, Embankment  Charing Cross, Waterloo

Website:  www.somersethouse.org.uk

Somerset House Facebook: www.facebook.com/SomersetHouse

Somerset House Twitter: @SomersetHouse (https://twitter.com/SomersetHouse)

For more information, book a press preview or to receive high resolution images contact

Antonia Faust, antonia.faust@riba.org T: 0207 307 3624


Notes to editors

1.0 Forgotten Spaces is a trade mark of the RIBA. See www.architecture.com/forgottenspaces for more information.

2.0 Forgotten Spaces 2013 is an ideas based competition. It is open to students, artists, design professionals, planners, members of the public and local groups (led by a professional) living in the UK. The competition is being run by the RIBA in London and in Preston in 2013. Competition proposals for Londonmust be for sites within Greater London as defined by the 33 London Boroughs, and must not replicate sites identified by the Forgotten Spaces 2011 shortlist.The London judges were: Fiona Scott, member of the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group; Jeremy Titchen, Development Director, Qatari Diar UK Ltd; Peter Wynne Rees, The City Planning Officer, City of London; Sue Illman, President of the Landscape Institute; Paul Finch, Editorial Director, Architects’ Journal; and Alison Mayer, Senior Project Officer, Greater London Authority.

3.0 RIBA London and RIBA North West support the membership by providing high quality support services, organising regular activities and training in their respective UK regions. They both seek to

increase the political and professional influence of RIBA within the region and work to raise public awareness of architecture as a profession. Both encourage improvement in the built environment by

delivering cultural activities and by encouraging architectural debate in the public arena.

4.0 The Mayor of London plays a key role in running London. He sets a citywide vision of improvement, develops strategies and policies to realise the vision and provides funding and encouragement to help make it a reality. The Mayor is in charge of setting the overall vision for the capital and draws up strategies and policies to deliver the vision. He has a duty to set out plans and policies for London covering: Transport, Planning and development, Housing, Economic development and regeneration, Culture, Health inequalities, and a range of environmental issues including climate change, biodiversity, ambient noise, waste disposal and air quality.

5.0 Qatari Diar UK:

Wholly owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company was established in  December 2005, to support Qatar's growing economy and to co-ordinate the country's real estate development priorities.  Qatari Diar is currently developing or planning more than 49 projects in 29 countries around the world. Qatari Diar is becoming established as one of the world's most trusted and respected real estate companies because of its commitment to quality, local community, partnership and hallmark sustainability. Qatari Diar's hallmark vision of sustainable development places community and local traditions at the forefront.

The company aims to create and manage property investments and developments which not only comply with the best international standards, but which also strongly reflect local culture and values. As a result, Qatari Diar's projects deliver a distinctive and sustainable social, economic and environmental benefit to the community.   In addition, Qatari Diar often enables local and international developers and investors to partner in its projects and to work together in exploring other opportunities, both locally and internationally.  In the UK, Qatari Diar's portfolio of interests includes the planned transformation of the former Chelsea Barracks into a new and beautiful residential neighbourhood in the heart of the capital and the US Embassy building in Grosvenor Square. Joint ventures include, with Canary Wharf Group, a mixed-use development around the famous Shell Centre and with Delancey, ownership and development of East Village, the first leading Olympic legacy neighbourhood for London.

6.0 Ordnance Survey is Great Britain’s national mapping agency, providing the most accurate and up-to-date geographic data, relied on by government, business and individuals. Just as architecture has a huge impact on society, so does the underlying geographic information that helps us decide where and what to build for sustainable living. Architects and other property professionals use location data from

Ordnance Survey to help with feasibility studies, environmental investigations, scenario modelling and presenting design plans, ultimately supporting them to make better business decisions.www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/landproperty

7.0 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) London is the regional branch of the UK’s leading planning body for spatial, sustainable and inclusive planning and has a membership in excess of 2,000 planners from central, regional and local government, non-governmental agencies, private consultancies, the voluntary sector, the education sector and other organisations. It works to empower communities, shape planning policy and practice, develop knowledge and raise standards in spatial planning in the capital.

8.0 The Landscape Institute (LI) is the royal chartered body for landscape architects.  The LI campaigns to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for public benefit and is part of the government’s Green Infrastructure Partnership.  In 2012 the Landscape Institute launched ‘A High Line for London: Green Infrastructure ideas competition for a new London landscape’ in partnership with the Mayor of London and the Garden Museum.  The Landscape Institute has since developed a new website dedicated to showcasing green infrastructure ideas for the capital – visit at www.newlondonlandscape.org

9.0 Somerset House is a spectacular neo-classical building in the heart of London, sitting between the Strand and the River Thames. Since opening to the public in 2000, Somerset House has produced a distinctive public programme that annually draws over 2.5 million visitors to the site, providing a stimulating environment for exploration and relaxation. The varied, year-round programme includes an open air film and concert season and ice rink, as well as temporary exhibitions focusing on contemporary fashion, architecture, art and design, family workshops and free guided tours. In September 2009, Somerset House became the new home of London Fashion Week.