London’s Royal Academy of Arts has begun the hunt for ‘creative, imaginative’ ideas to redevelop the capital’s brownfield sites as part of its ‘Urban Jigsaw’ competition.

‘It is our contention that brownfield sites are very often the missing pieces,’ says Owen Hopkins, the Royal Academy’s architecture programme curator. ‘[Their] thoughtful and strategic filling in and re-use can help bring places and communities together.’

Architects are asked to identify a site and propose an idea to transform it. The gallery hopes the competition will further discussions about how small-scale interventions – akin to ‘urban acupuncture’ – can revitalise the larger urban context and help alleviate the housing crisis.

‘What we need is a new approach to brownfield sites, one that is creative, imaginative and, vitally, driven by research into the economy, demographics and the urban fabric of surrounding areas,’ Hopkins adds.

Ideas must be submitted by 5 October. The Royal Academy will select four teams, who will then present their ideas to the public and a panel of experts. An exhibition of their work will go on show at the Royal Academy from 27 April 2016.

The institution also plans to talk to developers and local authorities about realising selected schemes. One interested party might be the London Land Commission, set up in February to identify and develop the capital’s publicly owned brownfield sites and help the city meet its target of building 400,000 new homes by 2025.



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