St Martin's Church, Brighton

This was an ideas competition to find an architect led team with practical, exciting and commercially viable ideas for the innovative reuse of St Martin’s church in Brighton.

Creative solutions were sought that respected the integrity of this beautiful listed structure, while adding new life and economic sustainability.


We received 28 submissions for this competition. Three teams were shortlisted to take part in Stage 2 of the competition, led by:

  • Arup
  • Emil Eve Architects Ltd
  • Trewin Design Architects

In addition, two teams led by ARTArchitects and Tom Turner Architects were highly commended.

The Jury Panel felt it was impossible to select a single winner preferring to acknowledge and celebrate two very different yet complimentary schemes both with intriguing ideas but neither with all the ideas. So, the Jury Panel decided to award a joint first prize to:

  • Arup
  • Emil Eve Architects Ltd

Trewin Design Architects was placed third.

ArtArchitects and Tom Turner Architects were both Highly Commended.

The press release of the announcement can be found in the downloads section of this webpage; the competition was widely covered in the architectural press.

  • Joint Winner: Arup
  • Joint Winner: Arup
  • Joint Winner: Emil Eve Architects
  • Joint Winner: Emil Eve Architects
  • Third Place: Trewin Design Architects
  • Third Place: Trewin Design Architects
  • Highly Commended: ArtArchitects
  • Highly Commended: ArtArchitects
  • Highly Commended: Tom Turner Architects
  • Highly Commended: Tom Turner Architects

"We approached Colander because we wanted a new form of architectural competition, one capable of going beyond exciting design to prove viability.  We had heard of their skills and we were not disappointed.  

"Through their extensive contacts and excellent know how they made sure that the competition was exposed to the widest possible audience (local, national and international) resulting in an exciting range of entrants all of whom could have met our needs.  Believe me, their hard work produced some amazing results and I cannot praise them highly enough for their professionalism and attention to detail.  

"It was a great pleasure working with them and we hope to repeat the process soon."

— Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and Jury Panel Chair


This was an open, ideas competition, with cash prizes for the top three teams. The brief can be downloaded from the sidebar on this webpage.

While it is hoped that the winning ideas can be turned into reality, this competition was not for a live project.

Competitors were asked to submit:

  • Two landscape boards describing their proposals
  • A project statement

Anonymity was not a requirement.

The entries were judged by a Jury Panel, chaired by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, and comprising:

  • Scott Ralph, Diocesan Property Director, Diocese of Chichester
  • Nick Hibberd, Executive Director, Economy Environment and Culture, Brighton City Council
  • Louise Arnell, The Pebble Trust
  • John Godfrey, Sussex Heritage Trust
  • Julia Barfield, Marks Barfield Architects, Independent Architectural Assessor
  • Graham Turner, Former Chair of Rydon Group and Croydon Tramtrack Ltd.

The Jury Panel was supported by a Technical Panel.


A public exhibition of the three finalists and the two highly commended submissions is being held in St Martin's Church:

19 January – 10.30 to 16.00
20 January – 12 noon to 16.00
02 February – 13.00 to 16.00
03 February – 12 noon to 16.00

A gallery of the submissions is available on the journal pages of this website.

Our involvement

This competition was managed by Colander. We helped:

  • Design the right competitive process
  • Write the competition brief
  • Provide a web platform
  • Promote the competition
  • Ensure a clear and ethical process
  • Brief the Jury Panel and the Technical Panel
  • Brief the competitors
  • Manage the competition process, acting as point of contact
  • Advise on and implement the scoring / evaluation procedures
  • Create an audit trail
  • Debrief and follow-up