Cancer Care Centre, London

This competition was managed by Louise Harrison whilst at the RIBA Competitions Office.


Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners


An open, international competition, advertised as a two-stage project, organised within OJEU regulations.  However, it deviated from a standard design competition in that it required early collaboration between developers and designers, with a focus at Stage 1 on the working relationship of the developer and the architect, as much as on the potential design skill of the architect. 

At Stage 1, 12 teams were invited to an interview with the client group from which six were selected to go forward into the design phase of the competition.  Midway through the design phase each team was visited in their offices by the client group to review the design work and to assess team working methods.  The competition concluded with the shortlisted teams making a presentation.

Our involvement

  • Designing the right competitive process

  • Researching and identifying potential competitors to alert to the competition
  • Advertising the competition in print and on-line media
  • Writing the competition rules
  • Commissioning an expert to write the competition brief

  • Planning the competition timetable and budget to meet client requirements
  • Acting as point of contact for the competition

  • Ensuring a clear and ethical process
  • Briefing the jury panel

  • Briefing competitors

  • Managing the competitive process

  • Liaising with the Trust’s procurement team to ensure a compliant process
  • Advising on and then managing the scoring/evaluation procedures
  • Arranging and facilitate interviews and presentations
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Creating an audit trail

  • Assisting with press and media enquiries and coverage
  • Competition administration
  • Debriefing and follow up

“The Trust decided to hold two further architectural competitions in 2010 for the design of a Cancer Treatment Centre at Guy's Hospital and for the external façade refurbishment of the East Wing at St Thomas' Hospital. I had no hesitation in asking Louise to provide the management support that we needed to guide us through running two major competitions at the same time. I am delighted with the outcome of both and I am sure that the resulting buildings will be highly successful. The experience, knowledge and skill that Louise has developed over the years makes her a great asset to any client involved in procuring architects and other professional consultants.”

— Alastair Gourlay, Director of Asset Management, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust


  • This was a very large, complex, international and high profile competition that, once announced, was very much in the public eye
  • Consultation with end users including patients and their families, formed an integral part of the competition process, with views canvassed at all stages, they helped compile the brief, participated in the ‘speed dating’ session and were asked for comments on the shortlisted designs.
  • The competition involved a rigorous procurement route tailored to the specific needs of the client, which complied fully with OJEU procedures.
  • The competition was widely advertised to attract international, national and local firms.
  • By seeking joint bids from developers and designers the Trust ensured, from the outset of the project, that all members of the team would be committed to delivering the winning scheme.
  • The Trust put as much emphasis on good working relationships as it did on creating outstanding architecture.
  • Through a series of interviews, workshops, and visits to practices the Trust was able to establish a good sense of how shortlisted team competitors collaborated with each other, as well as with the Trust as potential client.