FOUR teams of award winning architects have been shortlisted to design an exemplar neighbourhood at the brownfield St George’s site in Wolverhampton city centre.

Launched last month, there was a flood of expressions of interest in the design competition, led by City of Wolverhampton Council and social impact developers Capital&Centric in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

Eleven practices will now form four teams moving through to the next stage. Each will have eight weeks to put together an inspiring vision for the site, with a brief to deliver an inclusive and sustainable neighbourhood that reflects both the city’s heritage and diversity. 

The shortlisted teams are:  

  • Ash Sakula, Turner Works and Archio [3 practices]
  • Henley Halebrown, Studio Weave and APPARATA [3 practices]
  • Metropolitan Workshop, Studio Bark and Mole [3 practices]
  • Mikhail Riches and Periscope [2 practices]

The architectural competition is part of a push by the Council and Capital&Centric to deliver an exemplar neighbourhood on the 10 acre site, which sets a new high bar for regeneration in the city. It is being overseen by Angela Brady OBE, a past president of RIBA, who will advise the Council and a panel of judges on which scheme to be selected as winner and taken forward.  

Councillor Stephen Simkins, Leader at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “This approach is about securing inspiring designs that set a new design benchmark for brownfield regeneration in Wolverhampton. The level of interest in the competition has been really encouraging and we’re looking forward to seeing how the shortlisted teams interpret the brief. 

“St George’s is a fantastic opportunity to create a game-changing neighbourhood of which the city can be proud. It’s a critical part of our citywide plan to unlock investment in considered development that delivers much-needed homes and new opportunities for our communities.”

Commenting on the shortlist, Angela Brady OBE, said: “We set out to get the very best ideas for an exciting, futuristic neighbourhood that will draw in people of all generations to live and work in the city as a community. Collaboration is critical to delivering diverse and inclusive design, so it’s fantastic to have the four shortlisted teams, now expanded to include more of the invited applicants, to pool their ideas and talents for this great competition.”

Capital&Centric are aiming to replicate the approach they’ve successfully delivered in other cities, attracting investment into imaginative and creative communities that feature restored historic buildings alongside contemporary new builds, as well as lush green public gardens. 

As part of the St George’s project they are also planning to get views from local young people, as well as stage an event in the city this spring to showcase the final four design proposals. 

Martin Crews, development director at Capital&Centric, said: “The brilliant architect practices we’ve got on board all bring their own specialisms to the party, so there’ll be a real melting pot of ideas that should lead to some exciting results. It’ll go a bit quiet for the next few weeks, whilst the teams get on with the challenge, but we’ll be back this spring to unveil the four designs and engage with the community about their aspirations for the St George’s site.”

RIBA’s renowned competitions are aimed at delivering some of the most inspirational and outstanding designs. A key tenet of the brief will be encouraging wellbeing, health and a distinct sense of identity and place. 

Capital&Centric’s appointment for the first phase of the scheme was announced in December 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 £61million City Learning Quarter set to open in 2025.