As one of five finalists, the team led by London-based Hopkins Architects was ultimately selected as the winner of the Milton Keynes University International Design Competition. Co-launched by MKC and Cranfield University this past January, the competition sought the multidisciplinary team who will design the first phase of a new model university in Milton Keynes, deemed as the UK’s fastest-growing city.
In stage two of the competition, the five finalist teams submitted design concepts for phase one of the project, which includes a master plan and key buildings for the 10-hectare city center site, and for 61,120 square-meters of built area.
Hopkins Architects' team — which included Expedition Engineering and GROSS.MAX. Landscape Architects, among others — won the jury's favor with the clarity and confidence of their proposal, as well as their collaborative approach to designing exceptional higher education buildings.
Scheduled to open in 2023, the business-oriented MK:U will focus on digital economy skills, new technologies, business-and-entrepreneurial courses, design thinking, and professional and commercial skills to ensure students are equipped for the 21st-century workplace. It'll also offer fast-track, two-year undergraduate degrees.
The proposal is “an open quarter with a bold new urban frontage made up of a series of orthogonal academic pavilions, as a way to showcase the university’s activities in new technologies like AI and robotics; their vision taking its inspiration from the famous infinity street at MIT in the U.S.”, the design team describes.
The scheme “both echoes the format of the original MK vision with calm super-rational buildings surrounded by greenery, while also envisaging a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly future. A new civic realm for the proposed new university quarter includes a graduation lawn and formal water feature. The forum, the scheme’s centerpiece, is immediately recognizable with an eye-catching drum-shaped red lecture theatre within the glass entrance lobby, reminiscent of a giant friendship bead, which is welcoming to students, visitors and locals”.
The proposal will continue to undergo further development. The MK:U project is expected to be delivered in three phases and will be complete within 15 years. The fully built university is projected to serve 15,000 students.
You can learn more about the winning design and all the shortlisted proposals here.
Full team credits: Hopkins Architects with Prior + Partners, Expedition Engineering, Atelier Ten, GROSS. MAX., Buro 4, RLB Schumann, GRFN, Caneparo Associates, QCIC, Nick Perry Associates, Access=Design, Cordless Consultants, Sandy Brown Associates, FMDC and Tricon.
Comment as :