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New practice wins Letchworth Garden City contest

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New ’urban design and architectural practice’ EcoResponsive Environments has won a competition to develop designs for an extension of Letchworth Garden City

Founded last year by two former PDP architects and one existing employee, the newcomers were chosen ahead of Stride Treglown, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and CF Møller Architects for the highly sought-after job.

The two-stage competition invited participants to draw up proposals for a landmark 44.5ha site to the north of Ebenezer Howard’s visionary garden city in Hertfordshire. Applications were received from 11 countries, including India, Iran and Thailand.

The judges included RIBA past-president Jane Duncan along with representatives from Anglian Water, the Building Research Establishment, the Heritage Foundation, Homes England, the Town and Country Planning Association, law firm Cushman Wakefield and the University of Hertfordshire.

EcoResponsive Environments impressed the panel with its ‘enthusiasm, understanding of key issues and breadth of thinking applied to get beneath the skin of the project’.

‘The team demonstrated a particularly strong understanding of resource-efficient design, which built on team members’ experience of living and delivering projects in less developed parts of the world,’ added RIBA Competitions in a statement.

The competition is the first project won by the practice, which is based in London and run by directors Ka Lok Man, Prachi Rampuria and Soham De - a trio who share a combined 27 years of service at PDP. Rampuria continues to work at PDP as well as EcoResponsive Environments.

Founded in 1903, Letchworth Garden City was extended in the 1980s, and will have another 900 homes and related facilities added on a 45ha site. Design concepts generated by EcoResponsive Environments will inform the overall masterplan for this project.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Why doesn't this article mention that this development is on GREEN BELT, is contrary to the Act that established the Heritage Foundation, (Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation Act 1995), contrary to Ebeneezer Howard's vision for LGC, AND contrary to the wishes of the residents?

    A much more interesting story would be why and how this can happen. And how the community are going to hold the Heritage Foundation to account.

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  • nice scheme, but perhaps a missed opportunity to plan a car free, or hugely reduced car ownership, type of living - the estate is still larger planned for cars rather than people, although some nice meandering pedestrian and cycle routes etc.

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  • Chris, if you visited Letchworth you would find there already is a large scheme based on a reduced car ownership. It's called the Grange Estate and was built a good number of years ago when it was assumed that only rich people would have cars. It's a disaster. The roads are too narrow with cars parked wherever they can, generally turning the roads into single track with endless opportunities for children to run out unseen into the path of passing cars. Verges are carved up where vehicles have to pull off to let cars pass. Front gardens are paved over to provide parking.
    Out in the country, towns still need to design for cars. It wouldn't be unreasonable to design on the basis of two per household although in reality it can often be more.

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