The Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday, 22nd February 2005
Meet the man with designs on Avenham
A 1m winning design will see Avenham Park's pavilion transformed into a striking work of art.

The modernist pavilion will form the backbone to Preston's bid to secure Lottery cash to fully restore the historic park.

London-based architect Ian McChesney, working with landscape architect Fenella Griffin, beat off competition from 67 rival architectural practices who expressed interest in designing the new pavilion.

His design is of a curved pavilion constructed from a fanned timber roof, a rugged stone base and clear glass "walls" to reflect the openness of the park. The design brief called for "an exciting, innovative building which, whilst challenging previous interpretations of pavilion/park structures, would respect the historic landscape of Avenham Park."

And it is clear that residents and the judging panel feel the 34-year-old's proposal makes the grade.

His scheme was chosen from a shortlist that included eminent architects such as Design Engine Architects Ltd, Niall McLaughlin Architects, Space Craft Architects and Studio Egret West.

His proposal was also a clear favourite with the public when the schemes were exhibited anonymously at the Guild Hall in January, the greatest proportion of the 287 questionnaires completed related to his design. The father-of-one lives in London with his wife Jo and four-year-old daughter Anna-Rose, today told how he was excited about the project.

He said: "It is a significant public commission and it is nice to be designing a building for use by the public of Preston rather than private commissions. "I found the challenge very appealing. The shape of my design was influenced by the natural arc shape of the park. I was aware there was going to be a performance area and decided to shape the pavilion around that, with a cafe fanning out to the south, overlooking the river and making the most of the beautiful scenery."

Construction of the pavilion, subject to securing almost 1m funding, is scheduled to start in 2006.

Councillor Veronica Afrin, executive member for Regeneration, Community and Leisure, said: "The new pavilion is an important part of the multi-million pound scheme to restore Avenham Park. The bold design was clearly the most popular choice and will be a stunning centre piece in the park." Councillor June Dodd, member of the regeneration, community and leisure services review board, said: "The pavilion is modern, graceful, elegant almost ethereal and very appropriate for its historic park setting." Richard Davies of the Friends of Avenham and Miller Park, said: "All the finalists presented excellent concepts, and there was much debate and careful consideration in coming to a decision as to the eventual winner. "Ian McChesney's design is innovative and flexible, and will be a key feature in the development of Avenham Park, not only for the city but also for the surrounding region."

The Jury Panel consisted of representatives from the three main political parties, senior management at Preston Council, the AvenCentral Regeneration Partnership, the Preston City Vision Board and Friends of Avenham and Miller Park.

Sue Carmichael, RIBA Architect Adviser, said the pavilion would become a popular visitor attraction and architectural landmark. e-mail:

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, February 2005