Prescot Market Place "Re-imagining Market Place" RIBA Competition

Prescot, Knowsley | UK


Strategically located between Liverpool and Manchester, Prescot is one of Merseyside’s most historic market towns with a rich and active history of coal mining, pottery and even watch making. The town has the added distinction of having been home to the first purpose-built Elizabethan theatre outside of London. The town is currently undergoing an ambitious, five-year redevelopment plan to conserve and celebrate the town’s historic buildings and spaces. Prescot Market Place is central to this plan. 

Despite its prominent location within the town and just below the Grade I Listed Parish Church, churchyard and Listed 1916 war memorial, Prescot Market Place (800m2 area of open space) has been left disused and forgotten. This international competition asked designers and architects to ‘re-imagine’ the space within its urban context, the development of the new theatre and the wider regeneration of the town.  

Our design seeks to provide a dynamic, flexible, multi-use event space – an Open Pavilion – in the heart of historic Prescot. In response to Prescot’s connection to Shakespeare in combination with the theme of ‘play,’ we approached the site as a stage for both spontaneous and planned events to unfold, for performances and gatherings by the community, for the community throughout the day and year. 

The proposal comprises a raked landscape forming a central open space as a flexible space – an urban green for sitting; an open theatre; space for a market and public events. As an urban attractor, we designed an iconic mirrored structure that reflects light, activity and surrounding buildings and spaces. The circular raised plinth marks the location and form of the original market building, while also serving as an impromptu stage. 


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