Architectural competition by RIBA and Capital&Centric announced

Capital&Centric announce an international architectural competition, inviting practices to put forward initial ideas for a 5-acre site.

The St George's site, where Capital&Centric and the City of Wolverhampton Council are set to deliver an exciting new neighbourhood | BTR News
The St George's site, where Capital&Centric and the City of Wolverhampton Council are set to deliver an exciting new neighbourhood.

Social impact developers Capital&Centric – who are working in collaboration with City of Wolverhampton on the St George’s site – have teamed up with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to deliver the architectural competition.

Launching soon, the competition will see a shortlist of architectural practices put forward their initial ideas for the 5-acre plot, with the challenge to incorporate the existing Grade II listed church as a centrepiece of the new neighbourhood in the West Midlands city.

The entrees will be tasked with incorporating homes, community facilities, accommodation for businesses, alongside verdant public spaces in their designs. A key tenet of the brief will be encouraging health, wellbeing, and a distinct sense of identify and place that stands out.

“We’ve been dogmatic in our belief that exemplar design doesn’t have to be the preserve of London, or the South. Delivering development on brownfield sites in towns and cities is critical to the UK’s housing supply, but that’s no excuse for bland and boring new builds that add little to the social fabric of a place. We’re teaming up with RIBA to ensure that the St George’s neighbourhood in Wolverhampton can be held up as a best-in-class example of how to do creative, brownfield regeneration right in a way that delivers social value. We want the practices to come up with something that both inspires and excites but is a deliverable design that the city can get behind.”

John Moffat, Joint Managing Director, Capital&Centric

A leading architect will be appointed to oversee the competition with RIBA and Capital&Centric by assembling a panel of experts to judge the applications. Four practices will be shortlisted from the initial applications, who will each have eight weeks to design their vision with input from the panel.

The developer also plans to showcase the finalists’ designs at a local event, where the city’s residents will be able to have their say on each design. The winning design will form the basis of the St George’s masterplan, with planning applications to follow later this year.

“The last time we worked with partners on a design competition it resulted in the delivery of the iconic i9 office building – home to the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. We now want the St George’s scheme to become the design and quality benchmark for future developments in the city and I expect to see a high standard of entries for this game-changing opportunity.

“As part of our ambitious regeneration plans, St George’s can provide an inclusive, safe and sustainable new district that will generate new opportunities and jobs, bring underutilised assets back into community use and, importantly, deliver much needed new homes in Wolverhampton city centre. We’re also excited that Capital&Centric will bring further social value to the city through Regeneration Brainery. This programme is aimed at 14 to 21-year-olds and is designed to inspire them to consider careers within property and regeneration, enhancing social mobility and making the industry more representative of society. Projects like St George’s offer the perfect opportunity for young people to experience regeneration in action on their doorstep.”

Councillor Stephen Simkins, Council Leader, City of Wolverhampton

Capital&Centric’s appointment on the site was announced in December 2023 by the City of Wolverhampton Council, with the first step to develop a masterplan for the former Sainsbury’s supermarket site, with links to the £61m City Learning Quarter set to open in 2025.

RIBA’s renowned competitions are aimed at delivering some of the most inspirational and outstanding designs. Architecture practices who may wish to be considered for this Private Invitation competition are encouraged to contact Martin Crews at Capital&Centric: info@capitalandcentric.com