Camden Highline

On behalf of Camden Town Unlimited, we are delighted to announce this competition to find a design team for the Camden Highline, London, UK.

The competition

This is a competition to find the right design team with the right skills and ethos, with whom an amazing new landmark can be created for London. It is not a competition to identify a design solution for the project, this will be created through a collaborative design process with stakeholders, once the team has been appointed.

It is the client’s intention to appoint the winning team to take the project through to completion on site. So far, funds have been raised to take the project through to a successful Planning Application; further work, beyond this point, is subject to additional funds being raised.

The competition is being run as a 2-stage competition, generally following the OJEU Restricted Notice procedures:

  • Stage 1: Expressions of interest using the Standard Questionnaire
  • Stage 2: Shortlisting and Invitation to Tender

The competition is being managed on behalf of Camden Town Unlimited by Colander Associates. This means that Colander is the point of contact for competitors and all communications must be channelled through Colander, via the email address: camdenhighline@colander.co.uk

Please note that a pdf copy of this brief is available in the side bar of this webpage.

"This innovative project has the potential to become a real asset for Camden and is a great example of a local community taking an idea and garnering support in order to make it a reality. I look forward to seeing it develop."

— Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Competition updates

29.09.20
A clarification to the response to Q1.01 has been added to the Q&A document in the side bar of this webpage

18.09.20
Responses to Stage 1 queries have been added as a pdf document to the side bar of this webpage.

16.09.20
Drone footage of the Highline site has been added to this webpage - see above.

10.09.20

A copy of the SQ form, in word format, has been added to the side bar of this webpage.

The client

Camden Town Unlimited (CTU) is the name given to the multi award winning business improvement district (BID) for Camden Town. Its agenda is set and overseen by a board that includes local business leaders, residents and politicians.

Since its formation in 2006, CTU has carried out a range of projects including supporting young entrepreneurs with affordable workspace through the award-winning Camden Collective meanwhile use project; streetscape improvements; arts and festivals; lobbying; crime and green initiatives; Alternative Camden; and now, the Camden Highline.

As the Camden Highline develops and becomes self-sustainable in the future, it is the intention that it will become an independent charity, separate from CTU. It is anticipated that the design team will be employed by Camden Highline. Trustees include current and former CTU Board Members: Deb Thomas, Richard Terry (former Directors of Arup) and CTU Chief Executive Simon Pitkeathley.

Camden Highline website

“We’re thrilled to be taking this next big step towards realising Camden’s exciting new park in the sky. We need it more than ever now, and I for one can’t wait to enjoy it!”

— Richard Terry, Chairman of the Camden Highline

The project

Railway viaducts and bridges are an integral part of Camden Town’s history and identity. The beauty of the Camden Highline project is that it brings these structures to life, reimagining what is already a distinctive neighbourhood and making use of spaces that are otherwise redundant and inaccessible to the public.

The Camden Highline is modelled on the hugely successful New York High Line and comprises a new public park and garden walk, transforming the elevated railway between Camden Town and King’s Cross into a new green artery for London. The aim is that the Highline will be a beacon for positive and sustainable development in the city: something that people will be inspired by, learn from and enjoy; an intervention that is harmonious within its neighbourhood.

The Highline will be open and free to all, a beautiful and welcoming linear garden, punctuated with seating areas, cafés, arts and cultural interventions and spaces for charitable activities, to further enhance the individuality of the experience and help promote social cohesion.

"The Camden Highline is a really exciting proposal which is capturing the public imagination and would contribute to the Council's ambition to improve links between Camden Town, Camley Street and King's Cross. The Council is ready to work with those behind the project as it moves forward."

— Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council

The Highline will be 1.2km long, running some 8-metres above the ground, its width varies from 3-metres at its narrowest, to 20-metres at its widest.

It will run parallel but separate to the active North London Line, through residential and industrial areas, as well as conservation areas. It will create a unique garden walk, offering an unfamiliar and unique perspective on the city, away from the hustle bustle of the streets below. Starting at Kentish Town Road to the West, and ending at York Way to the East, the route has four proposed entrances, one of which could include access directly from the Grade II listed Camden Road Overground station and another that integrates with the proposed Camley Street redevelopment. It comprises three distinct sections, some wider than others, which would naturally suggest a phased design and delivery plan, depending on funding.

The Highline will link the hugely popular Camden Market to the rapidly developing King’s Cross development, in a little over ten minutes.

The Highline is a bottom-up project that has already captured the imagination of more than a thousand individual residents and business donors, who have been joined in their support by various statutory and grant funders. The client is determined that the Highline will be organically grown, drawing on the enthusiasm and support of the surrounding resident and business community that contributes to this extraordinary part of London.

Initial feasibility studies assessing the technical and financial feasibility of the project, as well as the socio-economic impact of the Highline, have been hugely encouraging. A business plan has been put in place supporting a total capital cost in the region of £35m; with three sections accounting for around £10m - £12m each.

The project has passed Network Rail’s business and technical clearance processes and completed a rail industry consultation on stakeholders' views. Discussions are underway with Network Rail to secure a 25-year lease of the infrastructure. Other stakeholders whose permissions will be required include: Camden Council, Transport for London and The Arch Company. In 2019 support for the Camden Highline was adopted as Camden Council policy.

It is the client’s ambition to submit a Planning Application in 2022, with the opening of at least one section as soon as 2024, depending upon funding.

Characteristics of the winning team

The client is committed to creating a more equitable and sustainable society and it will expect competitors to demonstrate their commitment to this objective.

The client looking for a design-led team of diverse and complementary consultants that can collectively create and deliver a confident and forward-looking design for this project, one that reflects the ethos of the Highline and delivers a wonderful, new, public asset for London, open to and used by everyone.

It is not the intention to specify how teams are structured, nor which skills are included in the team. However, the design team will require both gravitas and experience, alongside radical thinking and persuasive ideas. Teams are therefore encouraged to come together with both established and emerging organisations, with complementary skills. It is expected that the creative leadership within the team will be founded in landscape design. However, the lead consultant, as identified in the Standard Questionnaire, may not necessarily be the landscape designer.

It goes without saying that teams will need to offer exceptional creative ideas. However, teams will also need to demonstrate an ability to get the most from its own diverse membership, from the client organisation and from other collaborators. The winning team will be able to address landscape design; placemaking; planning and contextual considerations; interventions to historic buildings; public safety and security; railway issues and inter-disciplinary design delivery. While professional fundraisers are not required as part of the team, the team will need to demonstrate how it is able to contribute to the client’s fund-raising efforts, alongside effective political and stakeholder engagement, to help bring the project to fruition. It is not a requirement for teams to include a planning consultant, however teams should have the expertise to be able to submit a successful Planning Application in collaboration with Camden.

Competitors wishing to be involved in more than one team must use different people in each team and be able to demonstrate, on request, that measures to prevent internal information sharing have been put in place.

The role of design

There are a few guiding principles that will need to be considered by the competition winning team:

The design of the Highline must be exceptional, in every way, robust and fit for purpose but also uplifting, distinct, inventive, noteworthy and reputation-building. It must exude delight and confidence without being over-elaborate or self-serving. The design quality must act as a draw in its own right.

The contextual challenges associated with the Highline are complex because of the adjacency to the North London Line, and the closeness of buildings along the route, many of which are private and residential in their nature. The redevelopment of Camley Street, the structure of the viaduct on which the Highline sits, the arches beneath it and the link with the Grade II listed Camden Road station all pose different constraints and opportunities.

While the Highline will primarily be a wonderful public garden, it will also need to accommodate a variety of activities, some of which – such as cafés or seating areas – might be permanent, others might be more transitory – such as art installations and formal or informal community and education activities.

This project must be sustainable: socially, economically and environmentally.

  • Social sustainability
    will be demonstrated by a design that offers places for people to gather, meet and linger; to entertain and be entertained; to explore and enjoy. To be successful, it will need to engender a timeless sense of civic pride that celebrates the diversity of Camden and London.
  • Economic sustainability
    will require robust designs that are cost effective to build and easy to manage and maintain, flexible to operate and able to adapt to future uses with ease.
  • Environmental sustainability
    will be most effective if it is built into the design from the outset; reducing embodied carbon; facilitating closed loop recycling and waste management; encouraging circular economies and sustainable energy sources.

It goes without saying that the Highline must be accessible to all, offering a safe environment within a democratic public space that encourages informal and formal social interaction. It must act as a draw, encouraging people to enjoy the public areas whether they are visiting for a specific purpose, or merely passing through.

Stage 1 submission requirements

There are four sections to the Stage 1 submission.

This competition is being run in accordance with the OJEU Restricted Notice procedures.

Therefore, any competitor wishing to be considered for this project, will need to submit a Standard Questionnaire (SQ) as outlined in the OJEU Regulations. A pdf copy of the SQ for this competition is available in the side bar of this website.

The SQ is structured in 3 separate parts:

  1. Part 1 covers the basic information about the competitor, such as the contact details, trade memberships, details of parent companies, group bidding and so on.
  2. Part 2 covers a self-declaration regarding whether or not any listed exclusion grounds apply.
  3. Part 3 covers a self-declaration regarding economic and financial standing as well as information about the practice’s technical and professional capacity; the Modern Slavery Act; insurance and apprentices. Please note that referees given in this section will only be approached if a competitor is shortlisted.

In addition to the completed SQ document, competitors are asked to provide the following:

A single A4 side cover sheet that outlines:

  • Contact person: name, phone and email address
  • Name of the organisation submitting this expression of interest (the Lead Consultant), address, phone, website.
  • The names and web addresses of the organisations included in the team and their role on this project
  • Confirmation that all organisations in the team are paying a living wage to all employees
  • No more than 300 words summarising why this team is right for this project.

Part 1

A think piece: no more than 500 words and one A2 image that addresses the following:
‘Humans and Nature: the creative tensions that exist between an urban environment and the natural world’

Part 2

No more than six A4 sides of concise and pertinent text and images, addressing the following:

  • What creative talents and design management skills this team believes will be required for a project of this nature, embracing both innovation and practicalities, as well as the collaborative and the aesthetic design aspirations set out for the project.
  • This team’s knowledge of, and commitment to, landscape-led design for community projects.
  • This team’s knowledge of, and commitment to, sustainable development, looking at long term social, environmental and economic sustainability.

No more than six A4 sides addressing the following:

  • The individual skills and expertise offered by this team. Include information about the key individuals who would lead the project – whether it is the creative lead or the management lead – the roles they would take and why they have been selected for this project. Please also identify the individual who will be responsible for delivering the services identified in Part 3, Section 8.1b of the Standard Questionnaire.
  • An explanation of how the creative and the managerial leads within the team expect to interface, to ensure design excellence alongside a smooth delivery process. Please include an organogram of the team, to show the roles taken by each of the key players in the team and, if the team comprises more than one organisation, how they will work together.
  • This team’s ability to deliver both innovation and the highest possible long-term value to clients, while working within fixed budget and time constraints.
  • The team’s ability to work on a project in Camden, London.
  • This team’s experience of fund-raising and stakeholder engagement for community projects.

Stage 1: Submission format and delivery address

Submissions must be emailed in PDF format to camdenhighline@colander.co.uk. Please note that email attachments will not be acceptable if files are larger than 5MB, so we recommend using WeTransfer or the equivalent, if this is the case.

PDF submissions should comprise five separate files:

  1. Cover sheet
  2. Completed SQ:
    Parts 1 and 2 completed by each organisation in the team;
    Part 3 completed by the lead consultant only, on behalf of the team.
  3. Response to The Team’s Design Philosophy Part 1.
  4. Response to The Team’s Design Philosophy Part 2.
  5. Response to The Team’s Skills and Experience.

Please note that additional pages must not be included in the submission. So, no extra cover sheets or divider pages are allowed.

In addition, one A2 copy of the Humans and Nature image (The Team's Design Philosophy, Part 1), mounted on foamboard, should be sent to:

Colander Associates Ltd
Hill House
Fox Hill
London SE19 2XA

IIt is each competitor’s responsibility to ensure that its complete submission arrives before submission deadline of 12 noon on Wednesday 07 October 2020. Late deliveries will not be accepted. Equally, it is each competitor’s responsibility to ensure that its submission has been received. Email acknowledgement will be sent to the named contact person confirming that their submission has been received; if an email is not forthcoming, then competitors should assume that their submission has not arrived.

Stage 1: Queries

Competitors must not contact Camden Town Unlimited, the Camden Highline team or any other stakeholders when considering whether to enter the competition, or to help with the submission itself. Instead, any queries should be sent to camdenhighline@colander.co.uk no later than Friday 11 September 2020.

Responses to the queries that we receive will be posted on the competition website by Friday 18 September 2020.

Competitors are requested to keep an eye on this competition website, as this is where any updates to the competition process will be posted.

Jury and Technical Panels

Camden Town Unlimited has assembled an expert Jury Panel to identify the best design-led team for this project. This panel will select a winner and submit its recommendation for formal ratification by the Board of Camden Town Unlimited.

The panel will be chaired by Richard Terry, Structural Engineer, and Chair of Camden Highline.

A number of independent advisors will be joining the Jury Panel, including:

  • Alison Brooks, Principal Alison Brooks Architects and Trustee of Open City
  • Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design
  • Edward Jarvis, Urban Design Manager, London Borough of Camden
  • Indy Johar, Architect and Good Growth by Design Advocate to the Mayor of London
  • Kathryn Moore, President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects and Professor of Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University

The client reserves the right to make changes to the people on the Jury Panel, if circumstances dictate. Any changes will be posted on the competition website.

In Stage 2 of the competition, the Jury Panel will be assisted by a Technical Panel that is expected to include representatives from Network Rail, Camden Council and TfL. This panel will review the Stage 2 submissions and submit a written report to the Jury Panel to inform its decision-making process. The Technical Panel will also have sight of the shortlisted teams’ Stage 1 submissions.

Please note that while comments from the Technical Panel, the public and others will be considered by the members of the Jury, the Jury Panel will be responsible for the final selection of the team that will be recommended for ratification to the Board of Camden Town Unlimited.

Stage 1: Assessment criteria

All teams that enter this competition will be assessed against two criteria, with a 70:30% split:

Each criterion will be scored out of 100 as follows:

0-10 Poor response, does not meet the requirements
10-40 Average response, meets some requirements
40-60 Good response, meets most requirements
60-75 Good response, meets all requirements with added value for some
75-90 Very good response, meets all requirements with significant added value for some
90-100 Excellent and exceptional response that exceeds all requirements

The scores will be aggregated to give a percentage mark on a 70:30 ratio, whereby 70% is determined by the marks allocated to The Team’s Design Philosophy and 30% by the marks allocated to The Team’s Skills and Experience – no further weighting will be applied.

THE TEAM’S DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
70% of the marks will be allocated to The Team’s Design Philosophy, taking into account:

  • Demonstrable design flair, creativity and ingenuity, appropriate to a complex, multi-faceted and long-term urban project of this nature.
  • Understanding of the technical and contextual challenges associated with a project of this nature.
  • Approach to and/or experience of civic place making.
  • Approach to and/or experience of designing landscape-led projects.
  • Approach to and/or experience of working in an historic urban environment, respecting the heritage and uses of the surrounding context.
  • Approach to and/or experience of sustainability issues, both in the delivery of projects and in the completed projects themselves.

THE TEAM’S SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

30% of the marks will be allocated to The Team’s Skills and Experience, taking into account:

  • The appropriateness of the individual players put forward for this project bearing in mind creative, technical and management skills.
  • Approach to and/ or experience of working collaboratively: as a team, with clients, stakeholders and other consultants.
  • Approach to cost and time management.
  • Ability to deliver services to a project of this nature in Camden.
  • Ability to support the client in its efforts to raise funds for the project.

Shortlisting to Stage 2

In accordance with OJEU requirements, it is the intention to shortlist five teams to take part in Stage 2 of the competition. It is the intention to announce the shortlist on Monday 02 November 2020.

Please note that it will not be possible to give detailed feedback to teams that are not shortlisted.

Honoraria

Each competitor that is shortlisted to take part in Stage 2 will be offered an honorarium of £10,000 + VAT if required, payable on receipt of a compliant submission.

Stage 2: Briefing information

Shortlisted teams will be expected to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement before taking part in Stage 2.

Detailed requirements for the Stage 2 submission will be given to the shortlisted teams. However, the OJEU regulations stipulate that the Stage 2 requirements are outlined in this open call.

It is expected that the following documents will be included in Stage 2:

  • Technical and feasibility reports, as appropriate
  • Financial feasibility reports, as appropriate
  • A detailed scope of services required, to achieve a successful Planning Application and a broad scope of services to take the project through to completion.
  • A scope of services required by Network Rail for Outside Parties Works
  • Proposed form of contract
  • Fee available for the team to deliver a successful Planning Application.
  • A form to be completed with a schedule of rates and resourcing schedules.

A briefing session and, COVID-19 protocols allowing, a site visit will be held with the shortlisted teams, w/c 02 November 2020.

Stage 2: Submission requirements

Shortlisted teams will be asked to provide two distinct pieces of work, addressing:

  1. Design approach to this project
  2. Design delivery for this project

In addition, they will be asked to attend an interview with the Jury Panel.

DESIGN APPROACH TO THIS PROJECT
This is not a design competition. However, the Jury Panel will want to understand how each shortlisted team will approach the challenges and the opportunities inherent in this project.

Shortlisted teams will be asked to create a short video of no more than 2-minutes (with subtitles), that captures their understanding of the project’s ethos and the character of the spaces that the team would therefore like to create on the Camden Highline.

In addition, each shortlisted team will be asked to submit two A1 boards. The first board should include sketches, diagrams and words to demonstrate that the team has understood the challenges and the opportunities inherent in this project, referencing, as appropriate, the issues highlighted above:

  • Design excellence
  • Context
  • Adaptability
  • Sustainability
  • Accessibility and openness
  • Any other issues that the team would like to raise.

The second board should comprise a single image or sketch that reflects the character of the spaces that the team would like to create on the Camden Highline.

DESIGN DELIVERY FOR THIS PROJECT
Teams will be asked to submit a written report of no more than eight sides of A4, addressing the following:

  1. How they would expect to work with the client and establish supportive relationships with key stakeholders to benefit the project, illustrated with an organogram, showing how they would expect to interface with the client, key stakeholders and other potential consultants that will be required on this project.
  2. How they would expect to work with the client, Camden Council, Network Rail and TfL to ensure that technical and health and safety issues are addressed.
  3. The team’s approach to delivering a quality service.
  4. It is the client’s intention to give shortlisted teams a scope of work and a lump sum fee to take the project through to a successful Planning Application. Teams will be asked to comment, and explain their proposed working methodology accordingly.
  5. A response to the project programme and the team’s ability to meet the expected deadlines.
  6. A response to the anticipated project budget and how the team would envisage providing value for money.
  7. How the team would expect to support the client’s fund-raising initiatives.
  8. An agreement in principle to the proposed form of contract, highlighting any issues that would require further discussion.

In addition, competitors will be asked to complete a form that includes a schedule of rates and a resource schedule. Teams will be asked to indicate the % of time that key players and others will allocate to the project, both to achieve a successful Planning Application and, as anticipated, post Planning.

The deadline for receiving Stage 2 submissions is 12 noon on Friday 11 December 2020.

INTERVIEWS
The Jury Panel will conduct interviews with each of the shortlisted teams. These are expected to last no more than 60 minutes and will include time for a presentation and for a Q&A session. COVID-19 protocols allowing, the interviews will take place in London, on Tuesday 19 January 2021. If face-to-face interviews are not achievable on that date, then other arrangements will be made.

Stage 2: Judging criteria

It is expected that the judging criteria at this stage will focus on the team’s approach to this project, including: the quality of design thinking and communication; the quality of the service provided in the context of the stipulated fee; and the ability of the team to interface with the client and stakeholders. Detailed criteria will be given to the shortlisted teams.

Publicity and exhibitions

STAGE 1 SUBMISSIONS
It is the intention to use the Humans and Nature submissions to raise awareness of the project and to give some publicity to competitors. This may take the form of a publication, an on-line exhibition and, if appropriate given COVID-19 protocols, a physical exhibition in a venue in Camden. Details of exhibitions and publications will be provided on the competition website.

STAGE 2 SUBMISSIONS
Similarly, the boards and videos from the shortlisted teams will be posted on-line and, if appropriate, displayed in a public exhibition in Camden before the interviews with the Jury Panel. Members of the public will be invited to comment on the submissions and their comments will be collated and shared with the Jury.

Key programme dates

STAGE 1
07.09.20 Competition launch
11.09.20 Deadline for any queries about this competition
07.10.20 Deadline for receipt of Stage 1 submissions
02.11.20 Announcement of the shortlisted teams

STAGE 2
w/c 02.11.20 Site visit and briefing session
11.12.20 Deadline for receipt of Stage 2 submissions
19.01.21 Interviews with Jury Panel
09.02.21 Winner announced

Please note that these dates are given in good faith, however, the client reserves the right to make changes if circumstances dictate.

Copyright

By submitting any materials (including, without limitation, written proposals, designs, diagrams or source code) as part of this competition, you hereby grant to Camden Town Unlimited a non-exclusive, worldwide, sub-licensable, royalty-free licence to use, copy and modify such materials for the purpose of evaluating your tender. The ownership of any copyright in such materials will be subject to the Copyright, Designs & Patent Act 1988.

Publicity

By entering this competition, competitors agree not to contact the press or media about the competition at any stage during or after the competition, without the written approval of the client. Equally, not to self-publicise their competition entry online or through other means.

There will be publicity associated with this competition as it progresses. By entering the competition, all competitors (whether or not they are shortlisted to take part in Stage 2 of the competition), acknowledge this fact, and freely consent to their submissions being used for this purpose.

In particular it is expected that the Humans and Nature submissions in Stage 1 and the Design Approach boards and videos in Stage 2 will be publicised and, if appropriate, included in a public exhibition. Also, Stage 2 submissions will be used in publicity to announce the competition winner.

Disqualification

Any submission will be excluded from the competition if:

  • It is received after the submission deadlines
  • In the opinion of the Jury Panel, it does not fulfil the requirements of the brief
  • A competitor improperly attempts to influence the decision
  • Any of the mandatory requirements of the competition brief and conditions are disregarded.

Confidential Information

In the course of communicating with competitors, Camden Town Unlimited may provide information which is confidential (including, without limitation, information relating to the business or affairs of Camden Town Unlimited and/or the competition, whether or not such information is reduced to a tangible form or is marked in writing or designated orally or in writing as “confidential” (Confidential Information)). By entering this competition, the members of each competing team agree that they will

  • not use Confidential Information other than for the purpose of engaging with the competition and
  • not disclose Confidential Information to any third party except with the prior consent of Camden Town Unlimited.

This agreement applies to all those associated with the organisations in each competition team.

The small print

While the information contained in this document is believed to be correct at the time of issue, neither Camden Town Unlimited nor its advisors make any warranty or representation (express or implied) with respect to such information; nor will they accept any liability for its accuracy, adequacy or completeness.

Colander Associates has taken all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information included is accurate, however, it cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies.