An ambitious plan to create a lido at the Lancaster Canal Basin has won an architecture prize.
The Forgotten Spaces competition asked students, architects and members of the public to put forward their ideas for how to use empty spaces in Preston.
The winners – branded ‘canaLIDO’, made up of Aynsley Gray and Jamie McAllister – came up with their plan to “bring a dying canal back to life and reinvent the dilapidated canal basin using the historic concept of a lido.”
Preston’s canal basin was constructed in the late 18th century and spans an area of 21,500 square metres.
Second and third place were plans for putting a farmers market on top of the Avenham car park, called Shelf Life, while Woven in Cotton a plan for yards, alleys and weinds showed how Preston’s textile heritage could be remembered – came third.
The competition was organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects and Preston City Coucil, with the winner awarded £5,000.
Stephen Hodder, RIBA President and Jury Chair for Forgotten Spaces Preston said, “The judges had a difficult task in choosing a winner but unanimously agreed on ‘canaLIDO’. The idea captures the spirit of the mid Twentieth Century lidos, and whilst a relatively straightforward idea, the entrants have clearly put a lot of thought into how it could be executed. It would certainly re-engage the local community with the canal basin.”
The city council said although no action would be taken over the plans and ideas, they hoped it would provoke a discussion with landowners and businesses about how empty spaces in the city could be used.
Councillor John Swindells, Deputy Leader of Preston City Council, said:“I am delighted that there has been huge interest in Preston with entries coming in from right across the country.
“The standard of entries has been extremely high, and the judges certainly had a tough time choosing the winners so congratulations to everyone who took part. I have been impressed by the creativity, vision and quality of some of the ideas put forward and the exhibition is a great opportunity to showcase these excellent works.”
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “This is a great idea and an example of a design that would breathe new life into a disused area of Preston. The great thing about this concept is that it brings the canal close to the community through the facilities that surround the basin.
“This, along with all the other shortlisted designs are superb examples of how to transform the forgotten areas of Preston.”
Bernie Blackburn was down at the launch of the exhibition of the entries, see more photos on Flickr.
All of the shortlisted entries are to be displayed at 50-52 Lancaster Road from Thursday 7 November until Friday 15 November. It will be open from 12noon to 2pm. More details can be found on the Forgotten Spaces website.