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Sarah Wigglesworth and CF Møller shortlisted in Letchworth Garden City contest

Garden city concept web
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Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and CF Møller Architects have been shortlisted in the contest to update Ebenezer Howard’s visionary Garden City principle at a site near Letchworth

They join Stride Treglown and new consultancy EcoResponsive Environments in the final round of the ideas competition for the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation in October.

The two-stage competition invited participants to draw up proposals for a landmark 44.5ha site to the north of Letchworth Garden City. It received applications from Australia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Thailand, the UK and the US. The four shortlisted teams will now receive £6,000 each to further develop their designs.

The contest, launched by the RIBA, comes two years after the government announced plans for 200,000 new homes in a series of ‘garden villages’ and ‘garden towns’ across the country. 

David Ames of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation said: ‘We are very impressed with the quality and number of entries we have received. Narrowing the entries down to just four has been extremely challenging, but we are very pleased with the shortlist and look forward to seeing how these exciting ideas develop and the views of our local community.’

Chair of the judges, former RIBA president Jane Duncan said: ‘I was truly delighted … to witness the excellence of the ideas presented from a wide range of design parameters from teams located around the world. The four shortlisted entries were truly inspirational, and I look forward to seeing the concept design work and meeting the teams.’

Garden cities were conceived by architect Ebenezer Howard, who set out plans for self-sufficient garden cities ringed by agricultural belts in 1898. Architect Raymond Unwin and his partner Barry Parker won the competition to lay out the first, Letchworth, in 1904.

Following the New Towns Act of 1946, 27 new towns drawing on garden city principles were built in the UK.

The winning scheme in the latest competition will be expected to inform the overall masterplan for the area which will contain 900 new homes – of which 40 per cent will be affordable housing – together with a new primary school, local community facility and retail space.

Backers include the TCPA, BRE, Homes England, Anglian Water and the University of Hertfordshire. Judges include Duncan, Ames, Gillian Hobbs from BRE, Fionnuala Lennon of Homes England, and Katy Lock from TCPA.

The overall winner will take home a £6,000 prize.

The full shortlist

  • EcoResponsive Environments
  • CF Møller Architects UK
  • Stride Treglown
  • Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
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Readers' comments (1)

  • really interesting comp and i'm sure the shortlist is great. Interesting that notes from judges issued today says 'Whilst applauding schemes which sought to reduce the dominance of private vehicles, the Panel questioned whether the utopian goal of a car-free development would be achievable – in the foreseeable future - given the development’s location on the edge of Letchworth and the relatively poor current public transport links?' this begs the question - is this the right place to build 900 new homes then?

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