The competition to design a mixed tenure housing development in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire has been won by a team from Proctor and Matthews Architects with mae LLP Architects. This circa £15m project is being developed as a partnership between Aldwyck Housing Association, South Bedfordshire District Council, Luton Borough Council and the Housing Corporation.
The first phase of the competition attracted sixty-three Expressions of Interest from architectural practices across the UK, Europe and Africa. The Proctor and Matthews/mae team was selected from a shortlist that also included (in alphabetical order):
- Ash Sakula Architects
- Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects
- C.F. Møller Architects UK Ltd
- Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects
- Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
The Jury Panel consisted of representatives from the partner organisations, together with Glyn Emrys (A-EM Studio) acting as the RIBA Adviser to the competition. The Panel welcomed the varied ways in which the short-listed teams had responded to the Partner's Vision Statement and the challenges of the site. The Panel felt that the Proctor and Matthews/mae team had produced a scheme which delivered the densities required without appearing crowded, with a mix of housing typologies that would result in a development with a sustainable neighbourhood rather than an 'estate feel'. The Panel was also impressed by the winning team's considerable experience of utilising Modern Methods of Construction (particularly modular systems) in previous housing projects they had designed.
Members of the Jury Panel commented thus:
'The outcome has fully justified the use of a competition to select the design team for the Houghton Regis Development and has ensured that a high benchmark for design quality will be established at the outset of a major programme of housing expansion in South Bedfordshire.'
Ken Caldwell - Housing Corporation
'All six short-listed teams challenged the Competition Brief: bringing provocative and innovative housing solutions to the suburban debate, reinforcing the value of the architectural competition in the mixed tenure housing sector.'
Glyn Emrys - RIBA Adviser (A-EM Studio)
'We were delighted with the response from the shortlisted teams to our brief to design a scheme where families will really want to live, that will contribute to sustainability and community cohesion and where the architectural design of the buildings is matched by the quality of the public realm.' Tracy Williams - Director of Property Services (Aldwyck Housing Association)