Medway Council has selected BDP to design a landmark building on its 22ha employment zone at Rochester Airport in north Kent
The UK’s second-largest architecture practice will design and deliver a six-storey complex intended to set the tone for ‘high-quality development’ across the remaining Innovation Park Medway site.
The project is part of a masterplan by LDA Design for the new 101,000m² business district on the site of the historic airport, which is due to see one of its two runways decommissioned and the other upgraded. The firm won an earlier contest for the job in 2018.
Rochester Airport opened in 1933 as a base for civil aviation but was bombed heavily during the Second World War. The airport hosted commercial passenger flights in the 1950s and 1960s but was later leased to General Electric, which used some of the site for light industry.
Since 1999 the airport has been run by a group of aviation enthusiasts and local businesses which operate the airfield along with a café and museum. The latest project aims to transform parts of the airport freed up by the closure of one of the runways into a new business hub.
The Innovation Park Medway project aims to deliver a ‘flagship economic hub’ for the area, delivering significant investment and employment opportunities for local communities.
Once complete, the development will feature a 101,000m² mix of B1 and B2 commercial premises dedicated to ‘high-value technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge intensive industries.’
The latest 3,000m² project, planned to complete in 2022, will deliver a new functional and flexible block featuring five levels of offices alongside a ground-floor social hub with a conference space, café, kitchen and external area. It will be constructed on Plot N1.2 within the site’s masterplan.
The fee value of the latest commission is £1,089,128, according to the contract award notice. A total of seven unnamed teams submitted tenders and 25 teams submitted expressions of interest.
In a statement, the council said: ’Following a competitive prequalification questionnaire process to appoint an architectural design team, we received 25 submissions. The evaluation of the submissions identified the top seven consultancies to take through to the tender stage. All seven were invited to submit a full and complete bid, including a presentation and clarification interview.
‘We are pleased to confirm that we have awarded the contract for the design of the Innovation Park Medway gateway building to BDP, who demonstrated a thorough understanding of the brief. Their concept and holistic approach to the design of the building took into consideration the hard-working flexible ground-floor space and interaction with the runway park.’