EVENT REVIEW: London Planning Awards – 4 Feb 2015

As London’s population bursts through its previous record (8.6m, set in 1939), the need for high-quality planning grows ever greater. As part of this, it is vital that we celebrate the talents and achievements of some of the best minds in the business. Representatives of RTPI London were thus in attendance at the 2015 London Planning Awards, the twelfth incarnation of this event. This took place on Wednesday 4 February at City Hall, with Boris Johnson playing the genial host and master of ceremonies.

Sitting in the sumptuous surroundings of The Chamber, the building’s auditorium, accompanied by the great and the good of London’s built environment professions, it was a privilege to witness some of the most exciting new developments taking place across the capital.

There were nine categories of award, with between two and four shortlisted nominees. Each category had a short video, followed by presentation of the winning prize by that category’s sponsor. The winners were as follows:

 Best New Place to Work: Pill Box, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Refurbished by Workspace Group

 Best Community-Led Project: Shree Swaminarayan Mandir temple, in the London Borough of Brent. LTS Architects (UK), Engineers HRW, Max Fordham, Shree Hari Construction, LDA Design, Sutton Vane, Michael Grubb, Maninagar

Best Conceptual Project: The London Underline, developed by Gensler in collaboration with PaveGen Systems and Momentum

Best New Place to Live:  Vivo & So Stepney, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Designed by Levitt Bernstein, for the East Thames Group and Bellway Homes

Best New Public Space: Clapham Old Town Regeneration Project. Designed by Urban Movement for the London Borough of Lambeth.

Best Project Five Years On: Bow Cross, by the Swan Housing Association

Best Heritage-led Project: Tottenham Town Hall and Isobel Place in the London Borough of Haringey, by Newlon Housing Trust

Best Town Centre Project: Stockwell Street at the University of Greenwich.  Designed by Heneghan Peng Architects for Deloitte Real Estate and the University of Greenwich

London Planning and Development Person of the Year: John Turner, Town Planning Director, Ballymore Group

Finally, there was the overall winner, The Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence. This prize went deservedly to Bow Cross, by the Swan Housing Association

Following the prize-giving, we experienced the rare treat of being able to climb City Hall’s spectacular gravity-defying spiral ramp that led from Auditorium to London’s Living Room, on the 11th floor. Here were treated to the finest wine and food, while enjoying the chance to network with some of the nominees and winners.

RTPI London Chair Charlotte Morphet said:

“These prizes are an ensemble of some of the best examples of recent planning practice in London. They show how good planning can lead to high-quality developments and great design. By celebrating all that is best about planning in London, we can ensure that the sector is best-placed to take deliver the maximum benefits of London’s growth”

London Planning Awards judge and RTPI London Member Jonathan Manns said:

“London’s population officially reached its highest ever level earlier this month and is increasing more quickly than at any other point in history. Economic growth has occurred and is continuing at a faster rate than any other region of the UK. This makes these awards particularly important: put simply, there’s never been a more crucial time to recognise the best examples of planning practice and the transformative effects it can have throughout the city.”

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