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New design competition launched by LFA and the City's business improvement districts

LFA and the City BIDs launch an open call for submissions to celebrate the Festival's 20th anniversary.

The London Festival of Architecture and the City of London Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have launched open call for architects, artists and designers to propose trail of architectural interventions.

The ‘Navigating Change: Reimagining the Square Mile’ competition invites architects, designers, and artists to propose a trail of playful public realm interventions that envision a more welcoming and sustainable city. Possible interventions will include outdoor auditoria, urban furniture, public art, planting, and wayfinding elements, to be installed in summer 2024.

Aldgate Connect, Culture Mile, EC BID, and Fleet Street Quarter are collaborating with the London Festival of Architecture to commission the trail, which will have a budget of £100,000 for the winning team to execute their vision across four sites in the City of London.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024, the London Festival of Architecture is calling public spaces across London to be temporarily reimagined to capture the public’s imagination and inform longer term meaningful changes. Building on LFA’s long history of trialling public realm initiatives in the City, the trail will bring together a series of unique interventions that respond to their local context and are linked by the 2024 festival theme of ‘Reimagine’.

The competition will be judged by a panel of architectural and design experts.

Ruth Duston OBE, Founder and CEO of Primera, which powers the City of London’s business improvement districts, said: “Our day-to-day lives have changed a lot over the last few years, leading us to interact with London in a new way. This makes it an incredibly exciting time to work with the London Festival of Architecture for its 20th anniversary to commission public interventions that will align with our new ways of interacting with the capital and support Destination City, the City of London’s Corporation flagship policy aiming to develop the Square Mile as a leisure destination.

LFA’s anniversary will also coincide with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the first business improvement districts in the UK, and we’re looking for original thinkers who will come up with bold ideas that will celebrate these important milestones, as well as showcase the City.”

Benjamin O’Connor, Director, NLA said: “We are delighted to once again be working with the City of London BIDs to deliver meaningful interventions that improve the public realm. While it is important to celebrate and reflect on the rich history of these iconic City locations, this competition will also deliver innovative temporary solutions that create a welcoming, inclusive environment for all those that live, work and play in the City today. We look forward to summer 2024 when we will all be able to enjoy the trail with our fellow Londoners!”

Full competition brief and how to enter can be found here.

Deadline for entries is midday Tuesday 9 January, apply on londonfestivalofarchitecture.org.

Notes to editors

About London Festival of Architecture

The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) is a month-long celebration of architecture and city-making, taking place every June across London. Now in it’s 20th year, LFA’s mission is to open up discussions around architecture, test new ideas and promote emerging talent. LFA brings together the public and built environment professionals for the whole month of June and seeks to inspire and engage our audience with a programme that showcases London as a global architecture hub. LFA is run by NLA, London’s built environment community.



Twitter: @LFArchitecture

Instagram: @LondonFestivalofArchitecture

Facebook: @LondonFestivalofArchitecture

About Aldgate Connect:

Aldgate straddles two boroughs – The City of London and Tower Hamlets – and the BID team works in partnership with both local authorities to champion local businesses, and turn Aldgate into a better area to live, work and visit.

About the Culture Mile Business Improvement District:

The fifth and latest business improvement district (BID) to launch in the City of London in April 2023, the Culture Mile Business Improvement District (BID) represents the area stretching from Farringdon in the west to Finsbury Circus in the east. Brimming with cultural creativity, commercial vibrancy and a strong sense of community, the area is home to globally famed institutions such as the Barbican Centre and the future Museum of London (due to reopen in 2026), as well as hidden gems including St Bartholomew The Great, London’s oldest surviving church, and some of the last surviving sections of the 2,000 years old wall that once surrounded the City of London. Through its work, the Culture Mile BID will inject £9m into the local area over the next five years, working in partnership with its levy-paying member businesses as well as the public sector to deliver a range of ambitious projects including major public realm enhancements, agenda-setting green and climate resilience initiatives and high-profile destination marketing campaigns.


About the Eastern City Business Improvement District:

The EC BID is working to promote and enhance the eastern part of the City. The area is a globally recognised economic district complemented by a rich historic and cultural heritage – it’s a place 2000 years in the making, where London originated and over the years has continually evolved to become a prestigious commercial location. As the Eastern City Cluster continues to evolve, there is an increased demand to respond to its continued growth, with a strong ambition to support this growth through driving forward opportunities to develop this part of the City into an agile, dynamic and vibrant destination. Through collaborative working with our partners at the City Corporation, TfL, the GLA and our leading and innovative business community we work to deliver a range of programmes and transformative interventions.

About Fleet Street Quarter:

Fleet Street Quarter was established in February 2022. Encompassing an area which features Fleet Street at its heart, but embracing fascinating areas such as Chancery Lane, Holborn, Ludgate Hill and New Street Square, the Fleet Street Quarter aspires to shape the whole area into a thriving place to live, work, and visit. Set amongst a backdrop of beautiful architecture, Fleet Street Quarter is home to a whole host of iconic cultural locations, hotels, restaurants, bars and cafés. St. Bride’s Church, Dr. Johnson’s House and London’s Silver Vaults can all be found in this historic home of journalism. There’s also a great variety of pubs to be sought out in the Quarter, including Editor’s Tap, Old Bell Tavern, Old Bank of England and one of London’s oldest, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, many of which have been known to be frequented by literary geniuses such as Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr Samuel Johnson, creator of the first English Dictionary.