[First look + project data] EPR has won a competition to regenerate Louis de Soissons’ iconic Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn Garden City
The AJ100 studio defeated a raft of rival practices to land the residential-led, mixed-use redevelopment of the Grade II-listed landmark.
The appointment comes two years after plans to part-demolish the 1926 Broadwater Road complex and construct a 4,600m² Tesco supermarket were rejected by local authority Welwyn Hatfield Council.
The distinctive structure – featuring 30 ranked silos for storing grain – was the first factory to open in the Hertfordshire town which had been masterplanned by Louis de Soissons as England’s second garden city.
The project for client Spen Hill Developments will create hundreds of new dwellings alongside cafés and restaurants on the eight hectare town centre site.
EPR managing director Stuart Lowther said: ‘We are very excited to have been appointed to this scheme, which is something of a homecoming for EPR given our role in the design of Welwyn Garden City’s original town hall building in the thirties.’
He continued: ‘Our masterplan has been developed to embrace the core principles established by Ebenezer Howard, which were originally implemented by Louis de Soissons at Welwyn Garden City.
‘Our vision seeks to reinterpret the implementation of these Garden City principles to create an inclusive community within a community, offering a new approach to patterns of living and working that reflect the aspiration of a healthy life style for today.’
Mark Witham of Spen Hill Developments commented: ‘[We are] delighted to announce the appointment of EPR to lead this exciting development for Welwyn Garden City. The quality of their entry to the competition and their subsequent design work has been of a very high calibre and we are greatly looking forward to presenting some of the initial designs to the community in the next few months.’
He added: ‘We are very keen to consult widely as we bring forward the development and look forward to working closely with councillors, council officers, the WGC Society, the Heritage Trust, and the wider community on our plans.’
The former factory has been named one of the UK’s most important buildings by the Twentieth Century Society in its new book 100 Buildings 100 Years which publishes this autumn.
A public exhibition of the proposals is planned for the end of June.
Developer: Spen Hill Developments
Architect: EPR Architects
Project management and cost management: Stace
Planning consultants: DLA Town Planning
Structural engineers: ICIS Design
Sustainability and environmental engineers: Cudd Bentley
Landscape architects: Bradley Murphy Design
Highways and transport consultants: Transport Planning Associates
Heritage consultants: KM Heritage
Geotechnical engineers: Delta Simons