Inspiring ideas to redefine Sidmouth’s ‘stagnated’ eastern town

The area to be considered in the Re-imagining Port Royal architecture competition

The area to be considered in the Re-imagining Port Royal architecture competition - Credit: Archant

International architects join local panel to judge competition

Sidmouth could become a true trailblazer for rural design as ideas to re-imagine the ‘neglected’ eastern town go before judges tomorrow (Saturday).

International architects and acclaimed experts will fly in to help town representatives draw up a shortlist of regeneration proposals for a competition that has captured imaginations around the globe.

The quest to encourage ‘blue sky thinking’ in the redevelopment of Port Royal, the Drill Hall and surrounding neighbourhood was launched by Sidmouth-born architect Henry Beech Mole, who hopes ideas could one day be put into practice.

Entries have come in from as far afield as Japan and Peru, and organisers hope to see a range of alternative design options.

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Henry, associate director with RBM Architects, said: “Re-imagining Port Royal has been launched in recognition of the fact that the future of this strategic local asset is unclear and during the last decade the area has stagnated.

“This international competition seeks to critically engage with a broad scope of proposals, seeking ways of integrating Port Royal and the eastern town with the town centre and the Byes.

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“The site encompasses an area facing several strategic challenges: economic austerity; an ageing population; nuclearisation resulting from the pull of urban centres; rising tides; and coastal erosion. But it is part of what has long been a much-loved and unique Regency resort typified by impressive views, landscapes, and Georgian architecture.

“The competition aims to inspire ideas that will help redefine Sidmouth’s long-term prosperous future.”

Among the judges is Martin Tubiana, a French architect and graduate of the École Spéciale d’Architecture, and Emilios Koutsoftides, a Cypriot architect. They will be joined by Birmingham-based James Smith, an architect and graduate of Cambridge and the Royal College of Art, and Christine Atha - a lecturer at Leeds College of Art.

Representatives from Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, the town council, Cliff Road Residents’ Association, as well as local authors, historians, economists and meteorologists will complete the judging panel.

The jury will select a final five entries and a public vote will decide the winning design. Shortlisted entries, along with a few selected favourites, will go on display at Kennaway House, and people can drop in to vote, or pick up a form from around the town.

See next week’s Herald for the full shortlisted designs and further details on how to vote.

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