SAVE and Architects' Journal launch ideas competition for M&S Oxford Street site

27th March, 2024

Today SAVE and The Architects' Journal are launching a new ideas competition for alternative uses and the wider revitalisation of the M&S Oxford Street building and its surroundings in London’s West End.

The re:store competition, which is independent of M&S, seeks to promote debate and ideally create a model for the adaptive re-use of the UK's multitude of attractive but ageing department store buildings. 

According to the brief, entries should strive to meet five objectives including prioritising whole-life carbon design principles, preserving heritage and recognising the challenges facing the world-famous Oxford Street and potentially other high streets across the country.

The re:store contest is open to UK-based architects, architectural assistants and architectural students and has a closing date of Wednesday 24th April.

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain's Heritage, said: "The question of how to handle the future of prominent retail buildings like the M&S store on Oxford Street is being played out in high streets and town centres across the UK.

“We hope this competition will spark fresh and imaginative ideas about new lives for these well-loved city centre landmarks – fit for a climate-conscious 21st century and beyond – that everyone can benefit from.”

Emily Booth, editor of the AJ, said: “We’re excited to launch this competition with SAVE Britain’s Heritage to encourage creative ideas, promote debate and share imaginative approaches for building reuse.

“In the face of the climate emergency and pressures on high streets around the country, we hope re:store will act as a catalyst for fresh thinking – and we look forward to your entries!”

Up to 20 entries will be selected, with a shortlist of six then chosen to take part in a day-long charette in May. These six will be paid honorariums of £5,000 each to develop their ideas, with no overall winner selected. Entries will be assessed by a distinguished panel of judges including representatives from SAVE and The Architects' Journal.


This competition is run in partnership by The Architects' Journal and SAVE Britain’s Heritage. The AJ and SAVE are the two parties who successfully called on the government to launch a public inquiry into the M&S demolition-and-rebuild proposals on environmental and heritage grounds. 

The competition follows the decision by the High Court on 1st March 2024 to send M&S’s controversial plans back to the Secretary of State for re-examination. The High Court challenge and preceding public inquiry in October 2022 – which saw the original scheme refused by Michael Gove in July 2023 – have thrown up important issues around repurposing and re-use of buildings like M&S Oxford Street.

Gove is expected to make a decision later this year and has given the parties that took part in the public inquiry until 3rd April to make further submissions of evidence.

Full details in the brief attached as a pdf.

Documents (click to read/download)