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THINK NATURE - St.James Mayfair - City of Tomorrow - Architectural Design Competition

United Kingdom Architecture News - Jan 19, 2021 - 17:03   6046 views

THINK NATURE - St.James Mayfair - City of Tomorrow - Architectural Design Competition

London-based Debbie Flevotomou Architects is bringing together the highest calibre judges for a prestigious student competition in St. James Mayfair. 

The design competition is open to all architectural students of all levels and it aims to raise awareness for sustainability and Smart Cities. It will run for two weeks in February with winning entries announced in March. The winning entries will be taken through to the second stage of the project. 

Judges include top level representatives from Grosvenor, the Mayfair Business Association, the Mayfair Neighbourhood Forum, First Base Development, ION Development and other sustainability experts from top UK and European organisations.  

The competition is part of a larger masterplan which involves local businesses and residents’ communities and other local stakeholders and aims to work towards the Zero Carbon Emission Government target. 

The site is located at the East Edge of St. James and is calling for innovative ideas showcasing how the traditional fabric can be combined with a new design and how a Smart City can be incorporated in a conservation area.  

Marina Zouni, from Debbie Flevotomou Architects said: "The student competition is the first stage of this project. During the second stage we will be approaching commercial partners and the council with the aim of realising the design.  The government target is upon us and unless we take action now, it will soon be too late. We aim to make this study a source of pioneering design to be used in other parts of London and other cities."

Timing & entry requirements

The competition opens on 1 February 2021, with a deadline for questions 8 February 2021. The deadline for submissions is 27 February 2021 at noon.

The competition is open to all architectural students irrespective of level or country of origin. 

Students can submit their work individually or as part of a team. There is a nominal entry fee of £20+VAT for individual entries and £40+VAT for entries of teams of two or more students.


At the first stage of the project the winning entries will be celebrated with an exhibition in a prestigious London venue around June 2021 (subject to government guidelines). The award ceremony will be covered by local, national and international press. The top winning entry will be awarded £1,000.

Additionally, all finalists will benefit from interacting with our great panel of judges and other stakeholders, having a unique opportunity to raise their profile, gain insight and associate with the very best.

The second stage of the project aims to have the design build at some location subject to stakeholders buying in. The winner, individual or team will be involved all the way.

For more information on how to take part, visit the competition's website.


Design a new Node* Pavilion!

*According to Lynchian Analysis a Node is a connection point. Read more in the relevant section.

 The pavilion we ask you to design is a key feature for the City of Tomorrow

Brief Overview:

This should be an one-storey pavilion; the site dimensions are 8.9m X 12m; the pavilion should have an innovative THINK NATURE form inspired by the English Rose.

The design should consider the following functions and try to incorporate as many as possible:

  • Electric cars’ charging stations
  • Internet connectivity points (e.g. Antennas, WIFI, Ports etc.)
  • Transportation links (e.g. Bike ports, Car Healing, Scooters etc.)
  • Goods delivery ports (e.g. Lockers, drone drop off points etc.)
  • Exhibition space open to the public ( e.g. virtual exhibition, 3D experiences, live cams to nature etc.)

THINK NATURE - City of Tomorrow - St. James, Mayfair

The term “city of tomorrow” no longer describes a future concept but rather a fast approaching reality. A clean air, easy access city, that is also equipped with modern technology to gather and process data with the aim to produce, utilise and disseminate information to improve its citizens lives. Technologically advanced, it is first and foremost a city, a place where people live, work and play, where businesses grow and thrive and where architecture and the environment give the city its personality and make it a desirable, vibrant and attractive place 

Most “City of Tomorrow” concepts we’ve seen so far have been developed on a white canvas, some on areas of desert, others on reclaimed land, others on brownfield sites. Free from constraints that an existing city fabric would impose, white canvas cities of tomorrow are inspirational and demonstrate well “the art of the possible”. The evolution of existing cities will need a different approach, one that respects local heritage and current norms commercial, residential and civic.

This different approach, must be established promptly if our national targets for decarbonisation are to be achieved, in a way that improves and enriches life in our existing cities. Many questions need to be considered in forming an existing evolving city plan, including road usage, buildings energy consumption, generation and storage, and the infrastructure that will underpin it all.  In all this, of vital importance is that the city remains or develops into a place where people love to visit, live, work and conduct their business, a vibrant place where people, information and services interact seamlessly, supported by infrastructure and elevated and nurtured by nature.

In an effort to find an approach that can be adopted by cities around the UK, we are developing a masterplan for our local area, Mayfair and St. James’s, a good example of a locality with many and diverse constraints. As a conservation area with numerous listed building and limited space for new developments, it offers a great case study for challenging the status quo to deliver the city of tomorrow. We are inviting the wider community of residents, businesses and other stakeholders to take part in this exciting project that aims to illustrate what St James could look like in the future.

The project, which we call THINK NATURE - City of Tomorrow, initially aims to raise awareness about the pending challenges, encourage engagement, share ideas and develop concepts and proposals for viable solutions.

One of the key components of this stage is an architectural design competition where students are invited to design the main node of St. James’s, a Pavilion, that will serve as the key point of interaction between people, infrastructure and services. This node will be the new landmark bringing the new generation biophilic parametric design into our conservation area therefore creating a dramatic fusion of traditional and novel. The pavilion will be inspired by THINK NATURE and the design concept should be of the English Rose. 

Top image courtesy of Debbie Flevotomou Architects.

> via Debbie Flevotomou Architects