The mixing category in this year’s NLA awards concerns itself with buildings which show a complementary mix of work-live-play, designed holistically to meet the needs of a number of different activities and communities. The shortlist displayed a strong range of mix of uses and, felt the expert assessors, a good balance struck that avoided being too heavy on residential, for example.
Projects featured schools, retail, housing, offices, galleries, theatres, sports facilities and even a church on what were often dense or tight and complex sites that had to deal with rail and other infrastructure whilst pushing high placemaking, energy, and social ideals.
But perhaps the key issue was that light industrial, in particular, was a clear new part of this picture, with London having a growing need for retention and addition of employment along with residential, with the public realm being the ‘glue’ that brings that together.
Quotes from the international Jury
Toynbee Hall Estate & London Square Spitalfields
Benjamin Prosky: ‘I liked the mix of new and old and the generous open public space. I thought that was a nice thing to add’
Monica von Schmalensee: ‘Creating a public space inside and outside as this path through the whole estate gave strength to the area’
Unbuilt: Queen’s Yard, Hackney Wick
Andreas Ruby: ‘The composition of these different buildings I thought was urbanistically quite interesting. It was not a wholesale unified thing but it felt like a genuine piece of city that is believable…It felt like an almost revolutionary approach to mixing; how a city creates a condition of mixing over time by buildings not built at the same moment but at different moments and with different ideas’