Developers Vision

The scheme aims to:

  • Create low rent co-living micro studios, where tenants can take ownership of the management through use of modern technology such as smart phone apps.
  • Create a development where landlord's interferences will be limited to simple regulatory aspects such as H&S and licensing.
  • Produce a design that values how a building feels to live in more than just its appearance. The developer refers to this user experience as a "sense of being".
  • Develop a design that encourages community interaction without compelling tenants to give away their privacy.
  • Create a building that is designed to age well with least amount of maintenance.
  • Produce a design that is focuses on a holistic sustainable approach where residents can share space and resources.
  • Optimise the number of studios that can be incorporated onto a site.
  • Integrate the participation of potential tenants during the competition process to engage with space and design.
  • Provide a series of studios each of 19m2.

Competition Format

The competition will be organised in the following phases:




Phase 1

Submission of expression of interest document including a vision of co-living.



Interview Phase

It is anticipated that a longlist of up to ten teams will be invited to a brief interview to introduce their team and consider the massing of their co-living vision in response to a site.



Phase 2

A shortlist of up to five teams will be selected and asked to prepare design submissions. They will then be invited to attend a final interview and present their designs to the judging panel.

Judging Panel

The Judging Panel (which may be subject to change) is expected to comprise:

Hugh Broughton Hugh Broughton Architects (Chair of the Panel)
Takero Shimazaki t-sa Architects
Developer Representatives
Matthew Johnson UKPA Planning Consultant (Interview and Phase 2 only)
*Joanne Wallis RIBA Competitions (observer only)

* Joanne Wallis and another representative from RIBA Competitions will attend the assessments to document the competition process and provide procedural support. In the event of a Judging Panel member being unable to continue to act through illness or any other cause,, in consultation with the RIBA, reserves the right to appoint an alternative Panel member.



The client is looking to appoint a firm with proven ability to deliver the project. For this reason entrants must demonstrate they employ a minimum of 3 fee earning members of staff, of which one must be a registered architect


The first phase submission is in two parts. Each competitor is required to submit a maximum of 4 A3 pages electronically as a PDF. The submission should include the following:




Introduction to the practice and
projects of relevance to Co-living

(max 2 single sides of A3 as a PDF):

Full contact details and a designated contact person should be provided for the duration of the competition process including email address and telephone number.

A brief introduction to the practice should be provided, together with brief CV(s) for the architect(s) who would be responsible for leading, developing and delivering the design.

For architects registered in the UK, the ARB number should be provided for the lead architect. Overseas applicants should provide the name of the equivalent regulatory authority in their country of practice, together with their registration number.

Applicants should illustrate their submission with selected examples from their portfolio, which they consider will be of interest to the client group, or relevance to this project and demonstrate the ethos of the project. The reason for each project's inclusion should be outlined in a clear and succinct manner.

Images featured within the submission must make a clear distinction between photographic images of completed projects and computer generated visualisations of ongoing projects or competition submissions.

For schemes that have completed on site - the client name, project value and year of completion should be provided. Projects completed at a previous practice may (with appropriate recognition) be included, but the role undertaken for the scheme should be clearly articulated.

The panel will be particularly interested to see examples of architectural distinction having been delivered for relatively modest budgets, contextual design in response to this setting and an understanding of the design challenges of accommodation of this type.





Your firm's vision of
what is co-living.

(max 2 single sides of A3 as a PDF):

This can be in any form you wish, but should include a short statement and an illustration of one item that for you signifies co-living. Competitors may propose types of communal space that would be suitable in this collective eg laundry room. You may also comment on the developer's vision above.

Competition Criteria

The following criteria will be used to select the 10 teams for interview at the first stage assessment:

Company relevant background and projects of relevance to the Co-Living concept

Company vision of co-living

The Site

Site and Planning Considerations

The single storey light industrial warehouse is surrounded on all four sides by built development of varying character. The warehouse itself is brick built with a sheet metal roof, and has little architectural merit. The warehouse has two withdrawn applications for redevelopment to provide residential accommodation, in 2005 and 2011 (see London Borough of Newham Council refs 05/00070/FUL and 11/01043/FUL).

To the north of the site, the hostel at St Andrews's Hotel is a converted Victorian villa which has been doubled in size with a matching gable-fronted wing on the west side. However, the 2 halves of the building have floor levels at variance, as the original house has a half basement, and different fenestration. The building has had a few additions over time.

The hostel stands next to a villa of a similar period which is in use as the Imania Mission mosque. To the rear of the mosque, on Palmerston Road, is another single storey building in use as a kitchen joinery workshop. This workshop has an extant planning permission attached to it for: "the demolition and construction of a three/part-four storey building comprising 1 commercial unit on the ground floor and nine flats (4 x 2 bed, 4 x 3 bed and 1 x 1 bed)" (Council ref. 15/01965/FUL), but this has yet to be implemented.

Fronting Romford Road to the west is a drive-in McDonalds and to the east a petrol station with garage forecourt and showroom (vacant). Beyond the garage forecourt, on Westbury Road to the east, there is a 1960s block of flats, Westbury Court, in poor condition, and a warehouse (previously a (possibly bus) garage) which have been sub-divided into smaller business units. Both Westbury Court and the warehouse occupy the full extent of their plots apart from a small yard to the rear of the warehouse.

Opposite the site on the north side of Romford Road there are a number of semi-detached Victorian villas, a number of which have been amalgamated to create hotels (340-361 Romford Road), Grange Court, a small block of flats. The most prominent building is the Victorian Woodgrange Baptist church, which closes the vista from Palmerston Road.

To the rear of the site are the gardens of the Victorian terraced housing along Palmerston Road.

The site is not subject to any planning designations, although Romford Road is designated under Core Strategy policy SP7 for regenerative and public realm.

The Imania Mission mosque at 328 Romford Road and the Woodgrange Baptist church are both locally listed.

The main planning considerations are:

  • Massing and density
  • Amenity (overlooking, privacy and daylight and sunlight)
  • Design and local character
  • Treatment of boundaries
  • Transport
  • Basement

Forest Gate
London borough of Newham
E7 8BS





The competition is open internationally to registered architects. Architects should be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) in the UK, or an equivalent, recognised overseas regulatory authority. Applicants should note that teams progressing to the second stage of the competition will be required to demonstrate their ability to deliver within the UK.

No member or employee of the promoting body, the judging panel, or any partner, close associate or employee of them is eligible to compete or assist a competitor.

How to Register and Enter

In order to be considered for the commission, suitably qualified applicants must submit an Expression of Interest document (in electronic copy only) as per the requirements outlined in this Brief.

Interested parties who intend to submit an Expression of Interest must obtain a Unique Registration Number (URN). RIBA Competitions will issue a URN to interested parties within 2 working days of submitting the registration form. Registered applicants will also be issued a secure link to enable them to upload their Expression of Interest via RIBA Competitions' digital submission portal (RIBASubmit).

Please note that this and all future correspondence will be sent to the e-mail address entered into the form.

Phase 1 Submission Method

Each phase 1 submission should be uploaded to the RIBA Competitions digital entry system before 2.00pm on Monday 24 April 2017. Further details and a unique secure link will be issued to registered competitors.

Please note that the upload should not exceed 15MB.

The file name should consist of the allocated Unique Reference Number [C#] and also include the name of the architect practice, e.g. 'C#_Practice Name.pdf'.

Late entries will not be accepted and the digital entry system will not permit uploads after the 2pm deadline. The digital entry system will allow you to amend or delete the information you upload until the stipulated deadline date and time. You are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with the system and to allow adequate time for your submission material to successfully upload.

Longlisted Interviews

Following assessment of the initial applications, it is intended that up to ten teams will be selected to attend a brief interview with the panel to introduce the proposed team and discuss the feasibility of their co-living vision in terms of massing on the Forest Gate site following consideration of the Rights to Light study.

Phase 2

Following these interviews, the panel will shortlist up to five teams to take part in the design phase of the competition. A more detailed design brief will be provided to the shortlisted teams and this phase will include a design workshop where teams will have an opportunity to meet the client group and discuss their design approach in more detail.

Design proposals to include submission of up to 3 x A1 boards, design report including a strong methodology statement and a cost estimate.

Following submission of the design proposals, teams will be invited to attend an interview to discuss further with the Judging Panel.

The criteria to be considered for Phase 2 is likely to include:

  • Concept and quality of design
  • Methodology
  • Cost estimate

Submissions for both phases must be presented in English.

Honoraria for the Competition

It is intended that ten teams will be selected to proceed to interview. Each longlisted team who attends an interview and completes the massing sketch will each receive an honorarium of £1,000 +VAT. It is then intended that five teams will be selected to proceed to the final phase. Each shortlisted team who submits a final phase submission will each receive an additional honorarium of £2,000 +VAT. The client undertakes to pay the honorarium within six weeks of the conclusion of the competition. Invoices for payment should be addressed and submitted to RIBA Competitions.


Submissions shall be excluded from the Competition:

  • If a Competitor shall improperly attempt to influence the decision;
  • If received after the latest time stated under Phase 1 Submission;
  • If, in the opinion of the Judging Panel, it does not fulfil the requirements of the Competition Brief;
  • If any of the mandatory requirements of the Competition Brief or Conditions are disregarded.

Site Visits

Site visits are not permitted at Phase 1 of the competition however photographs of the site are provided.

Access to the site will be provided if required to the longlisted teams.


The ownership of copyright will be in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 - i.e. Copyright rests with the author of the submitted design.

The client however will have a licence to copy and use the designs only for purposes related to this project. If stage payments have been made to the architect, and the stage involving the planning submission has been completed and paid for, then the client has the right to use the relevant drawings for the purpose for which they were prepared (i.e. the planning application), regardless of any subsequent dispute which results in the withholding of fees owed for any following project stages.

Post Competition – Planning submission

The role of RIBA Competitions is limited to the administration and management of the competition process. The RIBA will have no further role once the winner has been selected and competitors notified.

The winner will be paid £40,000 for submitting planning-stage drawings and continue to advise and produce any amendments to their designs in the planning process until either the application is granted or refused. This sum will be paid in stages while the design is progressed through planning. Please note the target submission date is 24 August 2017. The winner will be required to deliver on the core objectives of RIBA stage 3.

Post Planning submission

The architect will be expected to enter into a RIBA agreement for the production of the drawings to the value of works including site inspections as and when required for the duration of the project on site.

If the winning architect is unable to meet the programme dates set out above or not meet the information required schedule as agreed at the beginning of the contract period, the developer reserves the right to proceed without the architect and settle fees up to the last set of contract information issued by the architect. This will be set out in the RIBA Client Appointment agreement.

Notification of Result / Publicity

The competition results will be published after all competitors have been notified. Please note that any requests for feedback should be submitted to RIBA Competitions within one calendar month of a shortlist, or a result being announced.

Competitors must not release any designs for publication to any 3rd parties until after the shortlist or result has been officially announced and permission has been granted from the RIBA. Competitors should note that by entering the competition they are expected to honour the request for confidentiality to prevent information of the shortlist or the winning team being leaked to the Press before any official announcement is made.

The RIBA reserve the right to publicise the competition, any design submission, and the result in any promotional activity, including all social media channels, they consider fit. Illustrations of any design - either separately, or together with other designs, with or without explanatory text - may be used without cost. Authors will be credited and recognised in all associated media and publicity. This information will be taken from the entry form so please ensure the details are accurate.


The competition is being managed and administered by RIBA Competitions on behalf of

All enquiries relating to the competition should be directed to:

T: +44 113 203 1490

Members of the judging panel, or the RIBA Adviser should not be contacted for information as this may lead to disqualification from the competition.


The anticipated programme,
which may be subject to variation:

Competition Launched Monday 03 April
Deadline for Phase 1 entries Monday 24 April
Longlist selected by Judging Panel Friday 28 April
Notify longlist & issue further site information by Tuesday 02 May
Notify unsuccessful competitors w/c 01 May
Interviews with longlisted teams 17 & 18 May
Notify shortlist and unsuccessful competitors By Friday 19 May
Phase 2 Brief issued w/c 22 May
Workshop session for shortlisted teams w/c 05 June
Deadline for Design submissions Monday 26 June
Final Interviews/Presentations Monday 03 July
Notification and result announced July
Planning application submitted Monday 24 August


Download the PDF Brief and Conditions