pops london architecture competition

POPS LONDON – Architecture Competition

Submission: September 25, 2020
Registration: September 24, 2020
Language: English
Location: London, England
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open


Privatisation of public land is a growing phenomenon in cities such as London. More and more communal spaces are being sold to public bodies or developers, resulting in them becoming the primary makers of modern cities. This transformation has been giving rise to privately owned public spaces (POPS), a term to describe spaces open to the public, formed from deals between the city and the developer in return for zoning concessions. The areas around King’s Cross current development is one of the 50 POPSs in Central London.

We call for architects, landscape architects, interior designers, product designers, urban thinkers and individual designers to explore the notion of POPS and their potential within the city of London. All designers are asked to study this particular interest using the site of the courtyard at Coal Drops Yard, London. Using the CDY as an example will give insight to POPS’s exploration potential because it is one of the relatively new ones in the city. It is also one of the largest POPS and multi-purpose event spaces in London, which unfortunately can often be left vacant during weekdays.


The competition will ask designers to produce three drawings of three different scales (refer to ‘Submission Requirements’ for more details).

Contextual Drawing: [ POPS ] @ London x 1

The first design requirement is to design an event in the celebration (or not) of POPSacross London. The event will be a series of urban interventions which take place across a number of (locations of your choice) POPS in Central London, which you can refer to the London site map provided below. This will be your urban-scale CONTEXT drawing. These interventions must be consistent to your concept, and the event should last from 2 weeks to a month. The intervention designs do not need to be detailed, but the drawing must demonstrate a general configuration of the interventions, and specifically how they link to each other under the urban context.

Design Drawings: [ POPS ] @ Coal Drops Yard x 2

The other two drawings will illustrate your design for the intervention specific to the CDY site in more detail. The two drawings can be of any scale and the design must demonstrate the following:

– How your design exercises the potentials of POPS

– How the design fits into and utilises the courtyard of CDY

– The ability to socially and economically benefit users of the space

– The intervention being a temporary structure



Brief Launch – 12th Nov 2019

Early Bird Entry  Deadline – 2nd Feb 2020 – 11:59pm (GMT)

Standard Entry Deadline – 24th Jul 2020 – 11:59pm (GMT)

Last Minute Entry Deadline – 24th Sep 2020 – 11:59pm (GMT)

Submission Deadline – 25th Sep 2020 – 11:59pm (GMT)

Public Vote – Nov 2020

Announcement of Winners – Dec 2020

>>> Go to the competition’s website <<<