The Lancashire Evening Post, Monday, 24th January 2005
Vision of Avenham


By Emma Broom
Council Reporter
IT’S the people’s choice! A weeklong exhibition will be launched on Monday to help decide which of these buildings should grace Preston’s Avenham Park.
Following an international competition, five teams of architects have been short listed to design a new £950,000 pavilion which, it is hoped, will help bring bigger and better events to Avenham and neighbouring Miller Park.
The concept designs will be on display every day until Saturday at city’s Guild Hall and will replace the 1970s green stage at the bottom of the Avenham Park Hill.
Altogether, 67 entries were received from architectural practices across the UK, Europe and the United States. A panel of local people short listed five.
They include Design Engine Architects, Ian McChesney Ltd, Niall McLaughlin Architects, Studio Egret West, all London firms, and Space Craft Architects of West Sussex.
However, the designs will be displayed anonymously and members of the public will be invited to comment on how the different buildings would enhance their enjoyment and the special character of Avenham park.


Responses will be collated and forwarded to the panel who will meet early next month to select a winner.
The bids are being handled by the Royal Institute of British Architects and James Porter, competitions office, said: “The natural environment of Avenham Park is a fantastic setting and the council wants the public to like the building that’s going to be there.
“Public agreement is a major part of the process. The five teams were issued with a detailed design brief put together by Preston council and the designs that have come in have been to that brief but they are architects and they have in architect ways. “it’s an exciting project.”
The design brief called for an exciting, innovative building which, “whilst challenging previous interpretations of pavilion structure,” would repect the historic landscape of Avenham Park.
The modern, all-purpose buildings could be used for leisure, arts, performances, education and entertainment.
“It would provide a base for major events, as well as a community resource, exhibition space, ranger base, café and toilets.
It must include energy efficiency measures to keep running costs down and designed so it allows sections of the building to be closed when not in use.
The existing toilets would be closed. The pavilion proposals will be one of the first new buildings in a programme of major projects being led by Preston’s City Vision Board and should set a standard of excellence for others to follow.
The next stage will be to apply for Heritage Lottery funding. Construction, subject to funding, is set to begin next year.


The design proposals will be displayed in the first floor foyer of the Guild Hall from 9am until 5pm daily and until 7.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday.
Miller and Avenham Parks are Grade II listed and have been used by the public for more than a century.
They have played a key role in Guild events and in major festivals such as the Heineken Music Festival but have since declined due to lack of investment. Click on images if you would like to see the five short listed designs [the file size is 162K]

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, January 2005