APPENDIX I. County Hall: Terms of the Competition as set out in
Instructions to Competing Architects and Replies to Competing Architects
These documents, which were issued to would-be competitors by the LCC, are reproduced in Alexander Koch's book, London County
Council Hall Final Competition, a Special Number of British Competitions in Architecture, 1908. The following selection from the
Instructions, and the Replies which amplified them, are here reproduced from Koch.
Instructions to Competing Architects
The London County Council, being desirous of erecting a new
County Hall and Offices, has determined to invite architects to
submit designs for the building which it is proposed to erect on
a site bounded by the River Thames, Belvedere Road, Westminster Bridge, and the Council's works department offices and
depot as shown on the accompanying block plan. (See Mr.
Riley's suggested plan... [included in the Instructions, see fig.4
on page 21].)
1. The competition will be divided into two stages, viz.:
(a) the preliminary; (b) the final. The preliminary stage will be
open to architects of any nationality.
2. In the preliminary stage the professional assessors will
select in private not less than ten, nor more than fifteen designs.
The authors ... together with eight architects invited by the
Council, will compete in the final stage.
4. The designs of the successful competitors will be returned
on the completion of ... the preliminary stage, to enable their
authors to compete in the final stage.
5. Each architect submitting a design for the final stage ...
will receive an honorarium of two hundred guineas (£210).
6. [Deals with the appointment of Shaw and Riley as assessors
for the preliminary stage.]
7. [Deals with the appointment of a third assessor to act only
in the final stage] ... This assessor, who will be nominated by
the competitors in the final stage ... will be required to give
an undertaking that he did not participate in the preliminary
8. It is the intention of the Council to assign to the author of
the design placed first ... the work of carrying out his design,
and the Council has decided that Mr. W. E. Riley, the official
architect, shall have discretionary power in all matters relating
to internal economy, building construction, and stability. The
successful architect shall obtain all the information he requires
upon the site, making the necessary estimates, preparing all
the necessary sketches, working drawings, detail drawings and
specifications, subject to the Council's approval in all matters
which, in the opinion of the official architect, should be brought
to it for decision ... [He] shall ... exercise in conjunction
with the official architect, general and usual superintendence of
9. For these services the successful architect and the Council's
official architect will be remunerated on the basis of the usual
five per cent. on the total cost of the completed building ... this
commission .. will be divisible between the two architects in
the proportion of nine-tenths to the successful architect, and
one-tenth to the Council's official architect.
12. A clerk of works or clerks of works will be employed to
superintend the work at the expense of the Council. [W. H.
Hookham was appointed clerk of works, assisted by A. H. Castle
and W. B. Johnson.]
15. Designs will be excluded from the competition –
(a) If sent in after the time fixed for receiving the designs,
(b) If considered by the assessors as not in strict accordance
with the instructions.
(c) If they do not provide substantially the accommodation
(d) If the area shown exceeds the limits of the site.
(e) If the assessors should determine that the probable cost
of the buildings will materially exceed the outlay stated.
(f) If any competitor attempts to make known his identity
or to influence the decision personally, either through any
member of the Council or the assessors.
16. The drawings submitted in the preliminary stage ... will
be returned under seal to their respective authors after the award,
and, with the exception of the assessors, no one else (pending
the final award) will be permitted to see the drawings ... during
the time they are in the keeping of the Council.
17. The successful competitors in the preliminary stage ...
can amend or redraw their designs for the final stage....
18. Three calendar months will be allowed from the date the
drawings are dispatched to the successful architects in which to
complete their matured schemes, at the end of which time both
the eight ... invited architects and those ... [successful] in the
preliminary competition must deposit their final designs....
19. The accepted design will become the property of the
Council, which reserves to itself the right of exhibiting the other
designs sent in for the final stage of the competition....
NOTE. – The designs, etc., for the preliminary stage ...
must be delivered to the Council on or before noon on
Tuesday, 27th August, 1907.
24. The land edged green on block plan will be reclaimed
foreshore. An embankment wall will be constructed by the
Council ... Competitors will be required to include in their
schemes a design for the superstructure of this embankment wall
which is to be of granite....
27. A sketch plan of the proposed first floor is attached, which
shows a suggested arrangement of the accommodation ... but it
is to be regarded as merely a suggestion which competitors may
modify in any way they desire.
28. A schedule of provisional requirements is included, giving
the several departments to be accommodated, their approximate
positions in the general scheme, the names and numbers of the
rooms, etc., and their approximate areas....
30. In considering the designs, the greatest importance will
be attached to simple and convenient planning, and it is essential
that all parts of the building should be amply lighted. The
construction is to be of fire-resisting material throughout.
33. The choice of materials to be used for the building will
be left to the discretion of the competitors.
34. The sum of £850,000 is considered sufficient to provide
a substantial structure suitable for the Council's purpose, exclusive of embankment superstructure....
35. The site will be covered with a concrete raft....
36. Each competitor must accompany his design by a short
typewritten descriptive report ... giving all information that
may be considered necessary ... to fully explain his design.
37. This report is to be accompanied by a typewritten schedule ... giving the areas of the accommodation apportioned to
each department on each floor....
38. Open fire-places are to be provided in the principal rooms,
in addition to which the whole of the building is to be heated
by radiators. A system of mechanical ventilation is also to be
40. The competitors are to tint the areas on each floor allocated to the various departments as shown in the schedule of
tints indicated on the sketch plan....
41. Each plan is to have clearly marked thereon the areas of
all the rooms, and also a schedule of the areas apportioned to
each department in the bottom left hand corner.
42. Each design must be accompanied by a declaration, signed
by the competitor, stating that the design is his own work, and
that the drawings have been prepared under his own supervision,
in his own offices, and by his own staff.... [Declaration to
be enclosed in a sealed envelope supplied by the Council.]
List of drawings.
The whole of the drawings in the preliminary stage of the
competition are to be drawn to a scale of 16 feet to 1 inch, with
the exception of the site plan showing the block plan of the new
building in relation to the immediate surroundings drawn to a
scale of 40 feet to an inch.
Preliminary stage of the competition.
Plans of each floor, elevations of the three principal façades [the
north front was not required], sections, one longitudinal, one
cross through the building, showing internal courts, etc.
No perspective drawings are to be submitted in either stage
of the competition.
Additional drawings for the final stage of the competition.
Sections through council chamber and main staircase. Scale
8 feet to 1 inch.
Detail of a portion of one of the façades. Scale 2 feet to 1 inch.
All the plans with the exception of the block plan to be drawn
on paper 52 inches by 30 inches, and mounted on strainers with
a 2 inch margin.
All the drawings sent in to be in dark brown or black ink, in
line only and in geometrical projection, but the plans and sections
should have the sectional parts filled in solid.
In elevations, no washes, shading or hatched shadows for the
purpose of embellishment will be permitted other than flat
washes in the openings.
Strict compliance with these restrictions will be enforced.
[Outline of agreements between the LCC and the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners over lighting angles in Belvedere Road.]
[A long schedule of the accommodation to be provided. As
regards the Members' accommodation this is surprisingly brief
and general – almost vague, but very detailed and exacting as
regards departmental requirements, giving rise to the impression
that the convenience of the officers rather than that of the
Members was the prime consideration in planning the building.
A total of 389,652 square feet was called for, of which 16,000
was for the 'general use of members'. This did not, of course,
include Council Chamber, meeting rooms and offices.]
Replies to Competing Architects.
18th May, 1907.
To form part of the Instructions issued in February, 1907.
29. Is the number of floors fixed by the Superintending
Architect? – The number of floors will probably depend on the
50. Is accommodation to be provided on every floor for
charwomen, and if so, is such accommodation to include w.c.'s,
&c.? – Yes. W.c.'s for charwomen are not required on every
floor, but such provision should be made near charwomen's
58. Is it necessary to provide a general dining-room or other
dining-room with necessary kitchen, &c., for use of members
and staff, and if so, are they to be separate? – Provision should
be made to seat a maximum of approximately 500 of staff ...
Any space for general use of members (dining or other) should
be separate from that for the staff. It is to be provided within
the 16,000 square ft. for general use of members.
60. The plans seem to imply that the main entrance for the
Councillors is from Belvedere Road. Is any provision to be made
for their carriages and motor-cars? – The position of the main
entrance is left at this stage to the discretion of the competitors.
It would be advisable to make provision for vehicular access to
63. Should there be a smoking room for gentlemen and a
retiring room for ladies besides the necessary cloak rooms? –
The area for these rooms is included in the 16,000 square ft. for
use of members.
81. May steps and landings to the water level project beyond
the face of the Embankment wall? – It is undesirable that there
should be any projection beyond line of Embankment wall
marked on plan.
84. Will the new terrace formed by the reclamation of the
foreshore be for the use of the public, or only for the members
and employees of the County Council? – Pedestrian access
for the public to the Embankment should be provided. The
"Members' terrace" within the plan is intended for
95. Is the library for reference purposes only, or will it be
used as members' reading-room? – There is to be a readingroom as well as a library, and the areas at this stage are left to
the discretion of the competitors....
112. Will the public be admitted to committees? – No, except
by invitation of the committee.