A team led by Hawkins\Brown has been selected by the Oxford University Development, a £4 billion ($5.2 billion) joint venture between the University of Oxford and Legal & General Capital, as the winner of an international design competition to develop a master plan for a £1 billion ($1.3 billion), 190-hectare (470-acre) mixed-use Innovation District at Begbroke Science Park, just north of Oxford, England.
The team also consisted of Rotterdam-based art and architecture firm Ooze, landscape firm OKRA, BuroHappold and C:Lab, and commercial strategist Murray Twohig. Their project was selected out of 40 entries and a subsequent selection of shortlisted proposals led by Allies and Morrison, Carlo Ratti Associati, Grimshaw, and Prior and Partners.
The competition was focused on finding the right team to develop a “boundary-pushing” master plan with Cherwell District Council, Oxfordshire County Council, and surrounding local communities. The Oxford University Development’s vision for the district is a space that will attract innovative minds while driving economic growth, improving transport connections, delivering benefits for local people, and enhancing the surrounding natural landscape.
The organizers also called for proposals that included the creation of a community of up to 2,000 quality homes, with new schools, a public park, and nature reserve. As part of the competition brief, participants were asked to submit an A1 board with images and up to 500 words in response to the following question: “How can Begbroke be both global and local; a place of world changing science whilst at the same time somewhere to call home?”
Proposals were assessed by a technical panel and a jury panel supported by specialist advisors.
As stated in the competition’s press release, “Hawkins\Brown demonstrated design flair through strong leadership, a collaborative approach and cross-sector expertise that resulted in a fresh approach to the new Innovation District. The jury found the winning team had balanced the need for delivery, design, attention to phasing, and the evolution of the place. The team offered a very strong response to the design challenge, proposed creative integration of different uses, as well as sensitive consideration of existing communities and those who will come to use the spaces.”
“This is one of those rare opportunities to set an agenda for a type of place that doesn't quite yet exist,” says Darryl Chen, Urban Design lead at Hawkins\Brown. “Begbroke will see new homes and space for science set within a semi-rural location driven by clients with a long-term outlook.”
If you're curious to see the other entries in this design competition, they can be viewed here.
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