London Borough of Bexley wish to engage a creative practitioner or designer to develop creative public realm or series of artworks for Erith Pier Square. The art will enhance the public space and benefit the local community. The project seeks to enhance placemaking in Erith as part of the wider regeneration plans and strengthen community engagement and investment.
The Council has worked closely with Architects BDP on a new design for Pier Square, to create an inclusive public area that provides a space for leisure and play. To enhance this new public space, we are calling on creative practitioners and/or artists to make an addition to the project that represents Erith’s heritage and gives excitement for the future, whilst acknowledging the river scene and its changing tides.
The Council has also worked alongside architectural students studying at London Met. S Unit 15 (the Cass) who independently studied Erith’s history and it’s potential regeneration in 2018, showcasing their studies at the Old Library in 2019. The study produced by the Unit has helped positive dialogue among stakeholders and forms background information for this creative opportunity. For more information on their study, please refer to the Appendix to view ‘The Cass supporting research and evidence’ and ‘Surfaces and Textures’.
The creative practitioner will be given a commission to develop their ideas and for their time and materials to fabricate and install, working to a defined budget for the build cost. The installation costs will be part of the commission and will be undertaken preferably by the artist, but it is possible that Bexley Council’s term contractor may undertake the works if deemed more appropriate by the Council. Artist’s contract and payment will be administered by LB Bexley.
All designs and works are subject to approvals and planning consent.
Erith Pier Square
Erith Town Centre
Erith Regeneration Team
London Borough of Bexley
2 Watling street
Pier Square is a key public realm site in Erith, situated by the entrance to the Pier and near the Thames and local walking and cycling routes. It was originally constructed as public open space when the Morrisons development was built in the mid-90s. The space was designed to offer a nautically themed jetty forecourt. However, over time, the space has become tired and underused. The original design missed opportunities to better connect with the surrounding river context. The trees are in poor condition and planted too closely. The site lacks a distinctive destination point for the community yet has the potential to offer so much more.
Through the public realm project to improve the area, the design team are proposing to absorb the adjacent car park and reconfigure the road layout to increase the boundary of the scheme. The current grounding conditions are cluttered and do not have a distinguishable purpose, therefore the site will benefit from new surfacing and levels which enhance views across the river. The square will be flexibly zoned to encourage various uses. New features will be introduced such as raised walkways and seating, a small basketball area, new trees and rain gardens as well as moveable lighting. The site will be designed to support a wide range of community events and activities, providing a more welcoming entrance to the Pier. Construction is due to begin in late May 2020 and complete mid-September 2020.
As a lot of Erith’s riverside was previously dominated by industry, this has created a disconnection to the river. There is a foot and cycle path along the riverside that goes all the way to Greenwich. This educational route shows some of Erith’s existing and redundant industry. There are still many productive industrial sites of varying sizes, housing small independent businesses to large corporations. Previous to Erith’s Industrial history, it was a pleasure town and holiday destination due to its easy accessibility from London by boat. It was a place for wealthy holiday-goers escaping the crowded streets of London in the 1800s. The town’s change from pleasure town to Industrial site was due to the introduction of the Crossness Sewage plant in 1865. Due to unpleasant smells, the pleasure town era ended for Erith and the town became dominated by industry.
The pier in Erith is one of the longest structures on Thames. Originally built in 1842, the wooden pier was 133m in length. A hotel sat next to the pier, and soon Erith opened its pleasure gardens in 1845 which hosted all types of entertainment from walks, a bowling green, conservatory, maze, an archery field and more for the holidaymakers visiting the town.
In 1865 the hotel, pier and gardens were sold as industry took over Erith. The pier being used for ships loading and unloading cargoes such as coal, seeds for local oil mills and newsprint for fleet street.
To accommodate larger cargo, the pier was rebuilt out of concrete in the 1950s creating a structure the length of 360 metres that stands there today. As industry became more reliant on road travel rather than river, the pier’s original use was abandoned and became a public amenity.
Now owned and maintained by Morrison’s supermarket, it is popular for fishing, a lunch spot, and a large public space of calm leisure. Alongside the pier, there is a nautical style lodge which houses a flood defence barrier required due to Erith’s position beyond the Thames Barrier.
The Greater Erith Regeneration Team has organised a Pier Festival over the last 2 years. In 2019, over 6000 people attended the event held in September. The event showcases local culinary talent as well as children’s entertainment. The event also focuses on supporting and promoting the many local community groups and organisations who work in Erith. It is hoped that the redevelopment of Pier Square can help to build upon this success, providing an exciting new space for cultural programming.
The redevelopment of the square sits within LBB’s Greater Erith Regeneration Programme which is harnessing the entrepreneurial and creative spirit already present in the town to bring about new opportunities for regeneration and growth. The programme is dedicated to working with the local community to help Erith become a flourishing riverside town by rejuvenating existing spaces, enabling new developments, and enhancing all the things that make Erith great. For more information on Erith’s regeneration programme visit greatererith.com
To assist in background research in meeting this brief, below are some of the key community groups active in Erith:
Please see appendix and view ground research of Erith, put together by students at London Metropolitan University (Unit 15, The CASS) for further reference material when compiling a response and addressing key themes as set out below.
This is an exciting opportunity to reinterpret the town. The following themes and practical points have been listed to inform the artist and provide context and ideas. Submissions could express or interpret one or more of the following themes and has been put forward to stimulate thinking.
Further to this, below are a few practical points for consideration:
A decision on the overall renovation plans for Pier Square is expected in the Spring. The planning application can be viewed at on the LB Bexley planning portal ref:20/00034/FUL. We strongly encourage all applicants to review the application and the proposals set out in the Design and Access Statement.
ALL Proposal should include;
Applications will be shortlisted to 3 to 4 submissions. The selection panel will invite shortlisted applicants to attend a meeting to further discuss proposals (2nd Stage appointment process). Date for interviews to be confirmed. This is also an opportunity to ask questions and clarify the commission.
The 2nd stage appointment process will be an opportunity for applicants to expand on their proposals and would include including materials palette, outline budget and design drawing showing the context of the piece in relation to the wider public realm project. A sum of £100 will be offered to each shortlisted applicant to further develop their work for the 2nd Stage appointment process. After which the successful applicant will be announced.
The following weighted criteria will be used in the first stage selection process.
|Quality criteria||Description of quality criteria||Score available||Weighting|
|Experience & Understanding||Applicant is experienced in successfully implementing art projects and delivering client briefs. Providing evidence of how previously client objectives have been met in a creative way. Evidence should include experience of ability to create public art which reflects local history and people.||0-5||15%|
|Accessibility||The installation should be accessible to all and inclusive irrespective of age, race, creed or culture.||0-5||5%|
|Health and Safety||Demonstrates H&S awareness, recognises the importance of durability and public safety. Applicant is able to provide examples.||0-5||5%|
|Identity and localism||This installation should communicate Erith’s identity. Concentrating on raising the public profile of the town. Representing what is important to the community.||0-5||10%|
|Community Engagement||We do not want this artistic to commission to stand meaningless to the people of Erith. We encourage ideas that are interactive in a variety of forms, whether that be sculptural or playful.||0-5||10%|
|Sustainability & Maintenance||To create an installation that is there to stand the test of time and integrate sustainable materials that do not negatively affect the environment in production and/or could be locally sourced.||0-5||15%|
|Knowledge of maintenance requirements||Demonstrates knowledge of maintenance requirements. All artworks can be in any material but will need to be robust to withstand the town centre and exposed location and have a lifespan of a minimum of ten years. They will be frost proof, resilient, vandal resistant, colour fast and water/wind resistant.||10%|
|Response to brief and design quality||Response to the brief and quality of the design||0-5||10%|
|Programme ideas||Propose ideas on the programme (how and through which phases you would construct?). Demonstrates adequate use of the £15,000 budget by providing a breakdown of how the money will be used||0-5||5%|
|Response to the proposed site and context||The installation needs to be integrated and coherent with BDP’s proposed vision of the Square, in particular regarding surfacing materials and the overall colours of the scheme.||0-5||15%|
If you require these in an accessible format please let us know.