FIVE FINALISTS REVEALED FOR CAMDEN’S NEW PARK IN THE SKY

The Camden Highline charity has shortlisted five design teams from talent across the globe, all in with a chance to deliver the exceptional new green passage that will connect Camden Town to King’s Cross. The shortlisted entries all examined the relationships between humans and nature to define their individual approach for creating London’s very own Highline.

Following a two-month international design competition, Camden Highline has today announced a shortlist of five groups drawn from the seventy-six entries to deliver the newest park in the capital. The charity is searching to find the studio that can realise their ambitious vision of converting 1.1km of disused railway into a new green link, bridging Camden Town and King’s Cross.

The extraordinary nature of the brief did not go unnoticed, with high-quality entries being submitted from industry-leaders across the globe, all required to address the ‘creative tensions that exist between an urban environment and the natural world’. The Jury — compromised of Alison Brooks, Wayne Hemingway, Edward Jarvis, Indy Johar, Kathyrn Moore and Highline chair Richard Terry — faced the challenging task of selecting just five submissions to take forwards. The finalists are: Agence Ter (France), Benedetti (UK), Feilden Fowles (UK), James Corner Field Operations (USA) and We Made That (UK), with a winning team set to be announced in January 2021.

Thanks to the support of a committed network of ‘Camden Highliners’, who have crowdfunded £63,000 and contributed over 2000 hours teaching time as part of the Highline Education Programme, the charity has been able to reach this milestone. The successful design group will continue collaborating with local community groups and stakeholders, instating a treasured public asset in the heart of Camden Town and King’s Cross. Chosen finalists will also have to demonstrate their abilities in prioritising sustainability, accessibility and innovation to deliver a creative new green space that will elevate London’s status in inclusive urban design, contributing to the recovery of the capital post-covid.

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said:

“The Camden Highline has the potential to be become an invaluable community asset for Camden, King’s Cross and the capital as a whole. It will create new green space, connect neighbourhoods and attract visitors from across London and beyond. I look forward to learning more about each team’s vision for this exciting project.”

Camden Highline CEO, Simon Pitkeathley said:

“It has been amazing to embark on this journey with the Camden Highline, and we’re only just getting started. This iconic park will enliven the capital — it is a symbol of hope for London’s post-covid economic and social recovery and I cannot wait to walk it!”

French studio Agence Ter are the lead consultants for this submission, describing the team they have curated as “complementary, multidisciplinary and diverse”. They are offering a “creative and innovative dialogue” around the project whilst also maintaining an “assurance of proven technical ability”.

Benedetti Architects are acting as team lead, taking the reins for architecture & landscape design and delivery. With a group formed of designers from England and Japan, they pitch themselves as a “sensitive team who listen before we speak or draw”, offering “collaborative energy, not ego”.

Feilden Fowles and J&L Gibbons head on this entry — a duo who are currently working on the Natural History Museum’s ‘Urban Nature Project’. They describe themselves as a “uniquely local” team who have been “exchanging our personal stories and memories of places important to us along the Highline route” whilst preparing their submission.

As lead designers of the New York High Line, James Corner Field Operations are teaming up with Piet Oudolf to bring their “exceptional experience” to the table. They emphasise from the outset that “Camden’s Highline will not be like New York’s”, highlighting the “completely different context, both urban and cultural”.

We Made That & Hassell are the design and management leads for this submission. Their entry focuses on the importance of the Camden Highline becoming “an example to the world of using landscape to deliver long-term, positive impacts across all ages, colours, backgrounds and abilities”.

KEY CONTRIBUTORS

This stage of the Camden Highline has been made possible thanks to generous contributions from LabTech, the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, Camden Council and Camden Town Unlimited, who have been hugely supportive of the project since inception.

CAMDEN HIGHLINE

The Camden Highline is a registered charity, number 1191150 — donate to the cause here. Camden Town Unlimited is a business improvement district that started the Camden Highline project in 2017. Their strategic vision for Camden Town is focused on the concept of a ‘green loop’ — the idea of connecting communities in Camden Town, Euston and Kings Cross with innovative and creative routes, such as the Highline, that benefit locals whilst attracting new visitors and boosting the local economy. The Highline proposal is summarised in this short video.

COMPETITION DETAILS

The competition is being managed by Colander Associates, visit the website to find out more. A winner is expected to be announced in January 2021. All seventy-five submissions to the first stage of the competition can be viewed on the Camden Highline website.

Transforming the disused railway between Camden Town and King's Cross into a new green artery for London.