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Competition: The Citadels, Carlisle

The Citadels, Carlisle
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Cumbria County Council is recruiting a team to design a major £100 million mixed-use regeneration scheme in the historic centre of Carlisle

The winning multidisciplinary team will design a new 13,800m² campus for the University of Cumbria within the Grade I-listed Citadels complex next to the Grade II*-listed Carlisle train station. The contract value is estimated at £500,000.

The project will transform a 1.65ha site featuring two Grade I-listed former courthouses, the former offices of the county council and other neighbouring properties. New commercial, residential, and cultural and leisure facilities will also be delivered.

In its brief, the council says: ‘The Carlisle Citadels site, located at the southern extent of Carlisle City Centre, comprises the block of land encompassing English St, Victoria Viaduct and English Damside. Hosting the Grade I-listed Citadel buildings (Crown Court Citadel to the west and Nisi Prius to the east), the site creates a prominent and attractive entrance to Carlisle centre.

‘There is now a requirement to develop an outline business case that builds on previous study work. This will focus on the Citadels themselves but would nonetheless be mindful of a range of other development opportunities on neighbouring sites. The project involves redevelopment of the 1.65ha Citadels site for a range of uses designed to revitalise the city centre and Carlisle, attract more people of working age and contribute to the improvement of productivity.’

Carlisle is a former Roman settlement and military stronghold, 16km south of the Scottish border. The city is now the largest settlement in Cumbria with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

The Carlisle Citadels are situated at the southern end of the historic centre and were originally constructed in 1541 by Henry VIII. The landmark towers were later converted by Thomas Telford and Robert Smirke into a pair of courts but are no longer used.

The historic complex is no longer used for civic purposes but the buildings were recently restored and are now open to the public. A Grade II-listed former wall which was once part of Carlisle Gaol is also included within the project site.

The winning team will create a masterplan for the site and an outline business case for its regeneration. The consultant will also be required to either develop plans to RIBA Stage 3 and submit for planning, draw up employer’s requirements for a design and build appointment at RIBA Stage 2, or produce design requirements for a development agreement with a third party.

The latest contract comes less than a year after Carmody Groarke was appointed to draw up a masterplan for a major revamp of Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery nearby.

Bids will be evaluated 80 per cent on relevant experience and 20 per cent on societal and environmental value.

The deadline for applications is midday, 21 October. 

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Hayley Samson
Cumbria County Council
Cumbria House
107-117 Botchergate

Telephone: +44 1228226417
Email: hayley.samson@cumbria.gov.uk



Stephen Hall, assistant director for economy and environment at Cumbria County Council

Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

We are looking to appoint an experienced multi-disciplinary consultant team with skill sets and a track record in city centre regeneration and complex urban sites, redevelopment of Grade I and II-listed buildings, provision of higher education facilities, production of design guides and development briefs for commercial opportunities, and outline business case production in accordance with HM Treasury Green Book guidance with projects of a similar size and scale.

We anticipate that all but the largest practices will propose teams consisting of several different companies of all sizes. We expect that, at c. £100m, multi-disciplinary teams will consider this opportunity to be a significant opportunity for their portfolio (although this commission is to advance the project to RIBA Stage 2, and possibly RIBA 3, only). At this stage (expressions of interest) we are seeking details focussed on companies’ relevant experience and approach to sustainability, environment and social value. From this a short list of five companies will be chosen at take into the next stage.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

An essential output of the commission for The Citadels project will be the development of an outline business case that will include a detailed procurement strategy for future delivery. The Citadels project will complement a separate project focussed on Carlisle’s Citadel Station Gateway.

Are there any other recent historic mixed-use regeneration projects you have been impressed by?

We confidently expect that responses to this call for expressions of interest will direct us to many similar projects and we would rather not offer our own suggestions while we are in the middle of a procurement focussed on this.

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