Lancaster University Launches Design Competition

An urban design competition is being launched by Lancaster University in its 50th anniversary year.

The University is calling on architect-led, or landscape architect-led teams to rejuvenate its Lancaster campus’s principal walkway, known as The Spine.

The ‘Spine’, is a partially covered pedestrian walkway spanning one end of the campus to the other, a distance of one kilometre. It was originally designed to allow pedestrians to walk the whole length of the campus whilst providing a degree of protection from the weather. Portions of the walkway were left open to the sky to let in the natural light, avoiding the need to provide under canopy lighting in part. The original 1960’s architects and master planners of the University (Shepheard Epstein) designed The Spine to follow the natural gradient of the land.

Director of Facilities, Mark Swindlehurst said:

“We are looking for an innovative team capable of rejuvenating The Spine and re-presenting it as a space that knits together an array of different buildings, external landscapes and addresses various building frontages and entrances.

“We want to create an inspirational space where people learn, work and live as well as go about their daily business. The University fosters a sense of community cohesion and The Spine should facilitate this.”

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is managing the competition process and a shortlist of five teams will be invited to develop their concepts in response to the University’s outline brief. An equal honorarium will be paid to each of the five shortlisted teams invited to participate in the design phase of the competition.

The competition will be held in two stages:

Stage 1: Expressions of Interest

Stage 2: Submission of dialogues and concepts to illustrate possible design approach and final interview with jury panel

Expressions of Interest are invited in accordance with the requirements set out in the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire and Preliminary Competition Brief available from the University’s e-tendering system at

For further information on how to apply visit and follow the link to Live Competitions to obtain the Unique Registration Number (URN) that must accompany the EOI return.

The deadline for submissions is 14.00hrs on Monday 12 May 2014.

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