Where new development sites are in close proximity to existing urban fabric, the masterplanner must first of all understand the context if a sensitive response is the be reached. The patterns of existing townscape should be extended, with natural joints between old and new, so that the new neighbourhood can be quickly assimilated.
Langley Park is a 7.2hectare brownfield site which was to be turned into a mixed use housing scheme with 230 dwellings. The forms of the existing residential roads are mirrored to create a network of residential streets leaving sufficient space for a new public park to be provided. This is placed at the centre of the new neighbourhood, and is key to integrating the scale of a supermarket and hotel. Locating a large supermarket adjacent to low rise housing on the site of vacant industrial sheds was a challenge. For this project we re-considered the function and status of the “big box” retail shed, and proposed a new form for the front of the supermarket. Hiding the cars underneath the building was the most important move. Chippenham’s historic market square and an existing Art Deco brick frontage to the old sheds was used as a precedent to propose a fully glazed lobby space to the front of the supermarket, overlooking a new public space.
This sought to create an acceptable active frontage to the big box, and a new public usage for the supermarket. With a café and perhaps a gallery space, it is envisaged that the lobby can function as the bustling meeting place that the traditional market square used to be.