Letchworth Garden City
The RIBA ran a competition for an extension to Letchworth, the first Garden City in the UK. We entered with Studio54 Architects, J&L Gibbons and XCO2 and were placed as ‘Runners Up’
The competition asked for proposals for the northward expansion of Letchworth to create a settlement of 900 homes. There were 95 submissions from 11 countries. Our proposal received an A grade in all the selection criteria (overall quality, response to the brief, clear communication of approach) and made the final shortlist.
The proposal focusses on the existing pattern of hedgerows that mark out historic plots of private farmland. These existing hedgerows are retained, extended and enhanced, creating pedestrian and cycle ‘Greenways’. These richly planted routes with species resistant to climate fluctuations, connect communities together, discourage total dependence on the car and encourage outdoor living and healthy lifestyles. The Greenways increase bio-diversity, allowing insects, flora and fauna and a wide variety of tree species to flourish. They allow for water courses and waterways absorbing and storing rainwater for reuse and to prevent flooding.
Alongside the Greenways, we propose a new housing typology that offers the opportunity for residents to convert (within Permitted Development) a rear garden room that could be used in a variety of ways. Residents could extend or retrofit their homes in response to changing family needs or use it as a standalone commercial unit, a bike repair shop, office or grocery store, that would open out onto and animate the Greenways.