Competitions: Enfield Civic Centre
Prizes of £1000, £750 and £250 are being offered in a competition for a civic centre at Enfield, Middlesex – a centre that will include municipal offices, council suite and public assembly halls. Questions must be sent to the Town Clerk, Public Office, Enfield, Middlesex (accompanied by a deposit of £2 2s.) by July 15, 1957. Applicants for the conditions, which will not be available until May 15, must state their registration numbers. Designs must be submitted by November 18, 1957. The assessor will be S. Rowland Pierce.’
Architects' Journal, 2nd May, 1957, p. 657
This is the winning design, by Eric G. Broughton, in Enfield Borough Council’s competition for a Civic Centre. Mr. Broughton, who won £1000, has placed a two storey block containing the mayor’s parlour, the council chamber and the town clerk’s office in the centre. On one side is a tower block of offices and on the other side is a building containing two public assembly halls. It is the Council’s intention to put up this group of buildings in three stages, starting with the council chamber, etc., and ending with the assembly halls. The assessor was S. Rowland Pierce. His report on the three winners (chosen from 108 submitted) is published in full on page 876- all six sentences of it! Is it really fair to any of the competitors in a competition that such a superficial report should be made? Cannot the RIBA persuade assessors to prepare reasoned analyses? The designers placed second and third in this particular competition might like to know more about the way their designs “fall behind that placed first in a number of matters.” And they might also like to know exactly how the winning design “is well related to … the central area of Enfield,” which is just about the least flattering thing anyone could hope to say about a building. More details are given on page 876. [Including a shaded perspective and a site plan of the winning scheme.]
[p. 876] … the second and third prizewinning designs by Clifford Culpin, F.R.I.B.A., and Associates (£750) and A. R. Osborne, A.R.I.B.A., (£500) [corrected as £250 in the following issue, p. 911]. The following is the assessor’s report of the winning entries in full: “Mr. Broughton’s entry is an imaginative and good answer to the problems set; the general architectural finish and massing are suitable, not only to the site but are well related to the existing town plan and the skyline of the central area of Enfield, to which the tower block will make an interesting and suitable contribution. The detail planning is sound, though some adjustments to the accommodation in the Tower Block may require second thoughts. Apart from certain minor criticisms of detail, the Town Hall Block is ingeniously planned and the interior arrangements have much imaginative dignity. There are minor errors in the cubing and estimate of cost, which do not, however, affect the totals materially (i.e., a plus of slightly over 1 per cent). I am of the opinion that this design, with reasonable care could be carried out for a sum within 10 per cent. of the estimated cost. The other two premiated designs, while of considerable interest and quality, fall behind that placed first in a number of matters.” The assessor also wished “to place on record the good but varying merits of a number of other designs” and commended the following entries: … [drawings end p. 880.]
Architects’ Journal, 12th December, 1957, p. 870.
The results of the Enfield Civic Centre competition, announced early in December, were architecturally a great disappointment. There were, however, a number of stimulating also-ran designs, of which the above by Seligmann, Chalk and Her[r]on, is one of the most interesting. It is an uncompromising arrangement of three sculpturally conceived blocks disposed around a formal courtyard. The structural and facing material is exposed reinforced concrete.
Archictural Design, December 1957
Conditions, instructions and requirements for use of competing architects for the competition available at London Metropolitan Archives [ref: ACC/1286/001], including Enclosures: plan of proposed site, 990x580; photographs of site (Redlingtons, Silver Street and White Lodge, Silver Street