Architectural commission open call

Wellcome invites proposals from architects, engineers, designers and artists for the construction of a 1:1 architectural project that addresses a key issue in human health today.

In October 2018 Wellcome Collection will open a major exhibition exploring the pivotal role of architecture in human health. The exhibition Living with Buildings will chart how shifts in thinking and approaches to design have impacted on our health and wellbeing. From the bold experiments of urban post-war town planners to the considerately crafted healing spaces for cancer sufferers the exhibition will look anew at the buildings that surround and shape us. The exhibition will take place in the ground floor gallery at Wellcome Collection from 04 October until 03 March 2019.

Alongside the exhibition, Wellcome invites proposals from architects, engineers, designers and artists for the construction of a 1:1 architectural project that addresses a key issue in human health today. This 1:1 commission will be revealed as a ‘live build’ in our first floor gallery, as the main exhibition opens w/c 01 October. After the live build, the installation will be open to the public.

There is a commissioning fee of £7,500 (inc. VAT) to be awarded to the winning entry and a build budget of £60,000 (inc. VAT).

At the end of this page, you can download a PDF that includes all of the information outlined here, as well as gallery plans and elevations, site information and inclusive exhibition design guidelines to inform your submission.

About Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library exploring health, life and our place in the world. Through exhibitions, collections, live programming, digital, broadcast and publishing, Wellcome Collection creates opportunities for people to think deeply about the connections between science, medicine, life and art. Wellcome Collection makes thought-provoking content that encourages everyone to reflect on what it means to be human. See the What We Do section of our website for more information.

The brief

  • A current concern relating to health should be at the forefront of the commission concept. This issue could include, but is not limited to: climate change; pollution; dementia; infectious disease; obesity and shelter housing.
  • The commission should form part of an already developed wider research project related to a health concern addressed by the design. There will also be opportunities to display background research and concepts alongside the structure.
  • While the exhibition has a UK focus the commission should have global relevance and speak to broad and diverse audiences not necessarily familiar with the field of contemporary architecture.
  • Due to the exhibition opening during the construction phase of the commission, the fabrication of the commission will be visible to the public as a ‘live build’. Proposals should therefore consider a ‘clean’ and interesting fabrication method as part of the design.
  • Materials and methods selected must be suitable for use within a museum environment (plants, living organisms and liquids are not permissible as part of the display).
  • The installation should be designed as a kit of parts and should be easy to install and dismantle allowing for the possibility of touring the installation onwards.
  • Applicants must pay attention to Wellcome’s Site Information and Gallery Access Restrictions.
  • Wellcome has a responsibility to be at the forefront of inclusive and accessible exhibition design, content and programming. Designs should take into account our inclusive exhibition design guildelines. We encourage applicants to build-in user consultation to their design process. We can support teams by promoting and facilitating user test sessions where appropriate and useful.
  • Choices about materials should prioritise sustainability, cradle to grave materials, energy efficiency, recyclability and reusability.
  • The structure will be built within Gallery 2 at Wellcome Collection and will occupy a maximum space of 10 m by 16 m with a height of 4 m.
  • The structure should be viewable both internally and externally and be able to comfortably accommodate group sizes of up to 25 visitors at a time inside. The exterior design should be visually engaging to a larger number of visitors in the gallery.
  • The existing gallery floor cannot be fixed into and a subfloor should be considered if necessary.
  • A live programme, durational changes or an active function should be considered while this project is on display.
  • The successful applicant will be required to hold all relevant policies of insurance necessary or prudent to obtain in providing the deliverables, and will be required to provide evidence of such policies of insurance on reasonable request.
  • The winning applicant will be expected to observe Wellcome Trust CDM Policy guidelines for designers / architects; to have an understanding of the requirements to ‘design out’ risk associated with both the construction, use and maintenance of their design; to eliminate all hazards and risks during design stage; and to provide information needed for the health and safety file on projects where there is more than one contractor.
  • The winning applicant will be expected to work with an experienced exhibition Build Contractor to realise their design alongside the Wellcome exhibitions team.
  • Between July and October 2018, a youth co-production project will take inspiration from the commission theme, and create an exhibit adjacent to the architectural commission. This project will have a separate brief, budget and facilitator, but if there are synergies between the two projects, we would welcome and appreciate the winning applicant spending a few hours engaging the young people with their work, to enrich their overall experience (max 3 hours).

How to submit

To enter, please provide the following in a PDF (maximum size 8mb) to lwbcommission@wellcome.ac.uk:

  • 1 page practice profile
  • 3 pages highlighting 3 previous relevant projects
  • Approx. 500 word synopsis
  • Approx. 1500 proposal
  • 4 pages of plans, visuals and reference images
  • A programme that anticipates all stages of design development, construction, installation and de-installation.  
  • A budget that anticipates all costs of sourcing materials, fabrication, transportation, project management, labour, installation, and de-installation.

At the end of this page, you can download a PDF that includes all of the information outlined here, as well as gallery plans and elevations, site information and inclusive exhibition design guidelines to inform your submission.

Competition and project timetable

  • Competition open: 08 January 2018
  • Deadline for entries: 02 February 2018 (1pm)
  • Notification of finalists, with comments: 09 February 2018
  • Presentations from finalists: w/c 19 February 2018
  • Appointment: w/c 26 February 2018
  • Fabrication and construction begins: 01 October 2018
  • Press View of Gallery 1 exhibition (Gallery 1) and ‘live build’ (Gallery 2): 01-02 October 2018
  • Private View of Gallery 1 exhibition, and viewings of ‘live build’: 03 October 2018
  • Construction complete: 24 October 2018
  • De-Installation: Autumn 2019

Fee

Successful applications will receive a £500 fee to develop proposals for presentation to be held w/c 19 February 2018.

There is a commissioning fee of £7,500 (inc. VAT) to be awarded to the winning entry and build budget of £60,000 (inc. VAT). This budget should include all research, materials, labour, transport, engineers and specialist services, project management and background display project information and interpretation. 

Panel

Sadie Morgan is a founding director of dRMM, winners of the Stirling Prize 2017 for their restoration and reimagining of Hastings Pier. Her steadfast belief in the importance of design that connects back to people and place is a central influence in our practice. Over her 20-year career Sadie has had an increasingly significant role in the advocacy of design and architecture through her professional practice and her advisory roles.

Jeremy Myerson is the first-ever holder of the Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design at the Royal College of Art, with a remit to encourage 'design that improves quality of life'. His research interests focus on the role of design in social, demographic and technological change and he is an Honorary Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing.

Emily Sargent is Senior Curator of temporary exhibitions at Wellcome Collection, London. She is curating an exhibition which opens at Wellcome in October 2018 which explores links between health and architecture, with a focus on the people who use buildings to live, heal and be human.

Vanessa Norwood is one of the leading curators of architecture in the UK and has commissioned and curated a range of exhibitions that celebrate architecture in a wider context. She was co-curator of the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2012 and was previously head of exhibitions at the Architectural Association.

Download pack

This pack includes the information on this page as well as gallery plans and elevations, site information and inclusive exhibition design guidelines.