The Royal Docks Ideas Competition announced

royal docks M$$MO
Royal Docks | Flickr User M$$O

Registration opens today to find new design ideas for London’s Royal Docks.  The Landscape Institute and Ecobuild, with support from the Mayor of London and London Borough of Newham, have launched ‘The Royal Docks Ideas Competition’ to find innovative design proposals that would transform the Royal Docks into a multi-functional, ‘liveable’ space.  Comprised of three docks in East London – Royal Albert Dock, Royal Victoria Dock and King George V Dock – the Royal Docks is the largest enclosed docks in the world with a water area of nearly 90 hectares.  The judging panel want entrants to incorporate green infrastructure and water sensitive design ideas into their proposals in an effort to make the area more resilient against environmental, social and economic challenges and to transform it into a world class location.

Redundant docks have proved to be ideal regeneration projects – Canary Wharf, Salford Quays and the Albert Dock are all waterside-led regeneration success stories.  But the docks at the centre of these schemes are left untouched as big, empty swathes of water that are hardly used by the occupiers of these new developments.  The Royal Docks offer the potential to provide a range of functions including water activities, parkland and development space, to enhance ecosystems, improve connections between land and water and food production.

The Mayor of London is preparing to seek a development partner to deliver a floating village at the western end of Royal Victoria Dock. At 4km, the Royal Docks are the length of Central Park, and offer almost 90 hectares of water space with enormous potential to be brought to life.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London’s Royal Docks, historically the throbbing arteries of UK trade and commerce, present a huge opportunity which I’m determined to capitalise on. My vision is to develop a world class innovation and business district, creating local jobs, homes and economic growth. On the docks we’re already taking great strides to achieve this. On the water, with some imagination and creativity, the possibilities are endless.”

Speaking about the competition Sue Illman, President of the Landscape Institute, said; “We hope this competition will help us to ask questions and promote debate about how we should plan and manage more ‘liveable’ cities and urban centres in the future.  We want the competition to demonstrate how a landscape-led approach to design can transform the public realm – making cities more prosperous and resilient.  Entrants need to embrace green infrastructure and water sensitive urban design and demonstrate how they can help transform the area into a better place to live and work.”

The Docks are being transformed into a living, working community of high quality offices, workspace, retail, residential spaces, leisure and entertainment facilities. They will become a vibrant, exciting and fun visitor attraction which will draw people not just from across the capital – but across the country.  They are providing a major boost for the local economy and the area fully deserves its reputation as one of the capital’s must-visit places.”

The judging panel includes Sue Illman, President of the Landscape Institute, Thomas Lane, Group technical editor, Building & Ecobuild, Ric Blakeway, Deputy Mayor of London (Housing, Land and Property), Peter Barbalov, Partner Farrells, Victoria Thornton, CEO of London Open City and Colm Lacey, Head of Regeneration, London Borough of Newham.

The competition is open to all individuals and teams.  Entrants should not be constrained by restrictions including current planning law and land ownership issues.  The design ideas should innovate, inspire and challenge, but entrants are encouraged to consider the practicalities of realising their scheme.

The competition is sponsored by Marshalls plc the UK’s leading manufacturer of hard landscaping products. The deadline for submissions is 6 January 2014. The winners will be announced at Ecobuild on the 5 March 2014. The winner will receive £2,000, second prize is £1,000 and four runners-up will receive £500 each.  The top 20 designs will be exhibited at Ecobuild, which takes place from the 4-6 March at the Excel Centre. 

Further information is available by visiting


About Damian Holmes 5565 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at

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