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November 6, 2017
The London Festival of Architecture has officially announced the shortlist of the Modern Maypole competition set to enliven the Northbank's Aldwych in June 2018.
A red steel giant striding through London, a tower built by London schoolchildren, and a visual metaphor for London’s diversity are among the shortlisted entries revealed today for the London Festival of Architecture’s “Modern Maypole” competition. The competition, organised by the festival in partnership with The Northbank BID, looks to create a contemporary maypole as a focus for public events and activity on The Strand during the London Festival of Architecture when it returns to the capital on 1-30 June 2018.
The Modern Maypole competition looks back to London’s built tradition, and aims to create a temporary landmark for the 2018 London Festival of Architecture that can act as a focal point for visitors and passers-by. In keeping with the London Festival of Architecture 2018 ‘identity’ theme, the project will also explore contemporary expressions of communal identity and shared experience. The maypole will stand outside the church of St Mary-le-Strand: the site of London’s largest maypole which was constructed after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and towered over the 17th century city. In 2018 the Modern Maypole will stand in a transformed cityscape, a reminder of how radically London’s skyline, character and identity have changed over the centuries.
The Modern Maypole competition was open to architects, artists, designers and engineers, and has been judged by a panel comprising:
Julia Barfield (managing director, Marks Barfield Architects)
Carole Boyd (actor, The Archers)
Megan Dixon (marketing and communications, The Northbank BID)
Andy Downey (director, Elliott Wood Partnership)
John Goodall (heritage expert and architecture editor, Country Life)
Jonathan Morrison (architecture correspondent, The Times)
Jonathan Reekie (director, Somerset House Trust)
Tamsie Thomson (director, London Festival of Architecture)
The winner of the Modern Maypole competition will be announced in early December. Just as the London Festival of Architecture encourages people to look at London in different ways, the shortlisted Modern Maypole practices have brought fresh eyes and approaches to a very traditional object. The quality and variety of the entries has been a real showcase for London’s architectural talent, and we’re very excited about choosing a winner to be installed in June when the maypole on The Strand rises once again.
Ruth Duston, chief executive of The Northbank BID has said: “The community around the Northbank is a diverse one, yet very strong together in its shared identity of ingenuity and creativity. We’re delighted with the proposals, all of which will enliven the space on Strand-Aldwych that acts as a stepping stone between international centres of innovation. With more permanent plans to transform this area’s public realm, this is the first step and will help businesses and visitors alike to engage with the space in a new and fun way.”