Now in its third year, this competition invites suggestions from all-comers to renovate disused and abandoned spaces across the capital. Somerset House are displaying the shortlisted 26 finalists’ entries in this engrossing exhibition – finishing soon on the 10th.

From the realistic to the faintly crazed, there are some great ideas on show here. Sadly the prize is just a small wadge of cash with no guarantees of any of the projects actually going ahead. But it’s thought provoking and will hopefully make developers and civic planners think a bit more radically about how we use public space.

Gas holders are a popular choice to overhaul this year, including a suggestion to turn the seven of Bromley-By-Bow Gasworks into a zoo. Four separate ideas for a vacant plot underneath Silvertown show the breadth of ideas that can be dreamt up for a single space.

But our favourite has to be from ‘Team Growler’ –  to convert the disused Aldwych underground station into a public bath, leading all the way down to a viewpoint at the Thames. Please, somebody get behind this!

Somerset House have entered into the spirit of things by displaying the exhibition in the Deadhouse, a leaking crypt-like tunnel with overheard ducts and a few gravestones, buried in the depths of the building. This is a simple show – ideas are presented on whiteboards with a few models and installations in cubby holes for extra visualisation – but the interest lies in the imagination displayed by the entrants.

We’d recommend trying to snaffle a return ticket for the sold-out Pecha Kucha on Thursday night – 6.45pm at Somerset House.

RIBA Forgotten Spaces at Somerset House until 10th November, Free

Pictures from top to bottom: Aldwych Baths / Team Growler, BikeBox / Sam Rose and Hoi Kei Lo, A Lost World / David Wakefieldand & Robert Nimmo, Adapt, Re-use / Clare Dale-Lace


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