The Illuminated River International Design Competition

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The Illuminated River International Design Competition

July 7, 2016


The competition’s unique design challenge is to create an elegant and charismatic light art installation of world-class quality for London’s most celebrated bridges.

The competition jury encourages fresh and interesting collaborations between artists, lighting designers, architects, engineers, technologists and others. The Foundation is searching for an inspired multi-disciplinary creative team with artistic vision and lighting expertise who can deliver this innovative and exciting project on time and without exceeding the budget.

Teams should be structured under a lead consultant identified within the submission with relevant skills and experience as described in the Search Statement. The competition jury encourages fresh and interesting collaborations between artists, lighting designers, architects, engineers, technologists and others – so additional skills may be proposed in your submission if you feel they are necessary.

The Brief covers architectural lighting (rather than operational lighting) and has two aspects. Firstly, a design masterplan for all 17 main road, rail and pedestrian bridges between Albert Bridge and Tower Bridge (including the proposed Nine Elms Bridge and Garden Bridge).

Secondly, a concept design lighting scheme addressing four individual bridges: Westminster, Waterloo, London and Chelsea and celebrating their unique qualities. These represent a sample of the bridge typologies within the overall masterplan.

An honorarium of £15,000 will be awarded to each of the shortlisted teams following selection of the winner.

The winning design team will be offered the commission to provide the detailed design of the full bridge installation (up to RIBA Stage 4) by the Foundation. The multiple bridge owners will assume responsibility for project delivery (with the selected design team retained to ensure design quality in delivery). The project will be phased with the first implementation phase expected to start in 2018 and the second in 2019-2020. For full details of the Brief, please see the Search Statement. To read about the second stage of the process, please see the draft Competition Conditions, provided for information only at the first stage.

Strategic priorities:

The design needs to:

– Display outstanding aesthetic quality.

– Show innovation and incorporate new, energy-saving, green technologies – and interactivity where possible.

– Improve and enliven the atmosphere of the river after dark, increasing visitor dwell times in the area.

– Be economic to install and maintain.

– Show an awareness of the heritage significance of the bridges and their setting as well as engaging with contemporary themes.

– Propose an approach for all the bridges while responding to the individual and unique characteristics of each bridge.

Practical and technical priorities:

The design needs to:

– Create spectacle across the bridges for future events, such as national holidays, celebrations and memorials. To do this, the bridges should be controllable independently, within sub-groups or centrally (with prior agreement of the bridge owners).

– Have an expected lifespan of 25 years.

– Create a multi-level experience of the design as viewed by pedestrians on the bridges, from London’s riverbanks, from the air, from tall buildings and by river boat.

– Address and respect the diverse natural environment and wildlife habitats in the river generally, and around the bridges specifically.

– Be mindful of access over, and navigation under, the bridges.

– Carefully consider proximity of residential development to the bridges.

– Avoid creating pinch-points where visitors might crowd bridges.

– Consider existing architectural lighting infrastructure – or places where operational and architectural lighting are the same (e.g. Millennium Bridge) – to avoid wasteful duplication and replacement, upgrading as appropriate.

– Take account of public safety and accessibility, ensuring the appropriate technical, environmental and safety standards are met.

– Require the least possible intrusion into the fabric of the structure; minimise the likelihood of vandalism; ensure ongoing maintainability without the need for difficult or onerous access arrangements.


July 7, 2016
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