Pull up a pew! Winning designs announced for our final round of Pews and Perches

Art & Culture

Pull up a pew! Winning designs announced for our final round of Pews and Perches

The winning design teams have been announced for our fifth and final edition of the Pews and Perches design competition. The design competition, which was launched by the Royal Docks Team in partnership with the London Festival of Architecture back in 2018, has already successfully delivered 19 benches – with designs ranging from the playful to the profound. In 2024, a further 6 new benches will be installed in various locations across the Royal Docks, bringing the final total to 25.

The Pews and Perches design competition was initially conceived to help introduce more seating options across the Royal Docks and to support the area to become more inviting and accessible. It aimed to demonstrate how public realm interventions, even at a small scale, can help build a sense of place as well as positively impact people’s well-being and experience of their surroundings.

This year’s winning designs respond to the Mayor of London’s vision of transitioning to a circular economy, as set out in the draft London Plan earlier this year, creatively embracing, exploring and testing circular economy principles in their design.

The competition called for architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging practitioners to deliver seating proposals that explore creative ways to use and reuse materials; taking inspiration from the Royal Docks, its proximity to the water and the communities who live here.

For many of the winning teams, this will be their first commission and is an excellent opportunity to showcase their talent to a national audience.

The winning teams will also benefit from the LFA mentor programme. This year Tom Kendall from Wayward is an LFA mentor, who has a huge amount of experience delivering public realm projects across London and will be on hand to guide this year’s designers as they develop and install their visions.

Meet the winners:

The North-Bound Collective is a group of graduates from the University of Sheffield’s Class of 2023, whose bench project explores the intersection of architecture, landscape architecture, building principles and structural engineering. Their Pews & Perches design envisages the maiden voyage of a series of delightful escapades, playfully traversing the boundaries between their respective disciplines, with the overarching goal of nurturing a greener, more sustainable tomorrow while encouraging the people of the Royal Docks to reclaim the waterfront.

Studio Green is a design-led architecture practice based in Bristol and led by Architect and Director, Jordan Green ARB/RIBA. The practice and its work are driven by explorative, resourceful and playful design as well as a desire to create meaningful architecture and exceptional spaces that are environmentally aware and material conscious. Jordan is an alumni of the former Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, a RIBA Mentor and a recent contributor to Design West’s Shape my City programme for young people. In addition to practice, Jordan also teaches on the architecture programme at The University of the West of England and has mentored on the University’s award-winning Equity programme supporting black, Asian and minority ethnic students.

Poacea is a non-profit collective composed of an eclectic mix of individuals with a joint passion for communal learning, making, telling stories and shared experiences. From a range of backgrounds across the creative, construction and teaching sectors, Dimitrina Mitreva, Daniel Stilwell and Valeria Slahova actively pursue opportunities for community engagement. They believe that collaborative acts enhance the final built outcome for all those involved in the process, strengthening self-belief whilst offering participants an enriching experience and encouraging future willingness to explore unfamiliar adventures.

Studio_Underbar’s Hosung Joo and Jingyeong Ryu first crossed paths at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. Since then, they have partnered on a range of voluntary design and research projects across diverse disciplines, as well as actively participating in public design competitions. Following completion of their postgraduate studies, they have been acquiring professional experience as Part 2 assistants at Weston Williamson + Partners, aspiring to qualify as architects in the UK. The duo's primary interests lie in the sectors of urban design, landscape architecture and the intricate intersection of community and culture.

A collaboration between Bene Wahlbrink and Eugenio Cappuccio (Panta Rhei Collaborative) and Miles Dean was born during the pandemic and evolved from exploring how circular design principles can champion the qualities of overlooked materials. Connected through old and new friendships whilst cooperating across borders, the three bring together their knowledge of the architecture and construction industry across the UK and Switzerland, testing new ways of working with existing resources and processes with the view to discovering novel forms of sustainable craft and design.

After meeting and working together at Stanton Williams Architects in 2018, Katie Fisher and Siraaj Mitha have gone on to organise and collaborate on various initiatives for young people, including for Open City’s Accelerate programme. The pair place education and working with young people at the centre of their practice, particularly with the aspiration to platform under-represented voices in the built environment. As well as the reduction of waste and the creative reuse of materials, they are also interested in creating circular processes of skills development and knowledge sharing through the empowerment of the people they work with.

By Sarah Henderson
Royal Docks Team
Comms and Liaison Manager