The latest Future Spaces Foundation student design competition challenged university students around the UK to redesign city streets in light of shifting workplace trends. With many people working from home and the traditional commute under review, city-centre streets remain quiet. How can we shape them into vital, vibrant spaces for citizens of the future?
More than 35 students participated from 8 universities: the Architectural Association, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Bath, Birmingham City University, Centre for Alternative Technology, Manchester School of Architecture, Norwich University of the Arts and University of Portsmouth.
The two-week competition began with a day-long charrette hosted via video conference, followed by independent design work and virtual presentations to a panel of renowned industry professionals. The winning team comes from the University of Bath. Congratulations to Warren D’Souza, Gabriel Fox, Pontus Chun Yat Lee, Alex Wells and Ryan Wu!
Their entry envisioned public transport stations repurposed as community hubs that activate high streets and bring together local populations. A bus stop, for example, could be redeveloped to house a book swap, a play zone, a bike store, a community fridge and even a performance space. According to the team, “the hubs act as building blocks to gradually optimise the streets for people and public transport networks, creating a fundamental shift where we put people first and create a culture that will lift us up when we fall down.”
The judges praised the team’s striking visuals and thorough, well-considered design. Peter Greaves, who presided over the proceedings, called it “a celebration of the often-overlooked bus, the most used form of public transport nationwide. The idea to take the act of waiting for a bus and turn it into a real opportunity for community building and friendship is exciting, and a believable urban intervention that could have immediate benefits. We really loved it.”