Location: Chelmsford, Essex;
Client: Bellway Homes Essex;
Uses: 408 apartments and 29 houses; 10.000 sq.m of commercial space;
Awards: Shortlisted for the Housing Design Awards 2014;
Shortlisted for the House builder Awards 2014;
The former Marconi Works have a significant importance in the history of Chelmsford. Marconi was a visionary inventor, and for almost 100 years, the works have been at the heart of this community, with generations of local employees having worked for the company on this site.
Its closure in 2008 led to a gradual deterioration of the site, hoarded and left to dereliction. Design advice for its regeneration sought a comprehensive masterplan to create a new permeable townscape, connecting through to the station.
The proposals fully realise this ambition, and the creation of new public route from New Street to the station makes this a significant and strategic regeneration scheme for the city. The retention of a series of key historic and listed buildings, as memories of the former use of the site, mean that the new route is punctuated by a series of memorable highlights, starting with the 1912 Building on New Street. This route is animated by a variety of new open spaces which reflect the changing character of the masterplan. Towards the northeast, the scale is lower, with family housing facing onto Marconi Road. At the centre, medium scale buildings are situated around a green pocket park space, and towards the southwest corner, adjacent to the station, the scale increases further, to a more urban character around a busy piazza. References to the historic uses of the site, to the palette and details of the city and to the formality of the spaces have all influenced a rich architectural design.