Developer Slough Estates has chosen three leading architects to design the first phase of its £250m business park at the former Royal Aircraft Establishment factory in Farnborough, Hampshire.
Foster and Partners, Allies and Morrison and Nicholas Hare Architects are each designing one office block for the scheme, which is set to become one of the UK’s biggest business parks.
The trio are members of an architectural forum selected from a shortlist of 10 by Slough Estates to focus on the office element in the project. The other practice in the forum is Michael Aukett Architects.
The whole scheme will be overseen by masterplanner Bruce Gilbreth Architects.
Slough Estates’ principal manager for the scheme, John Danks, said the large scale of the high-tech office development had allowed the developer to set up the group.
He said: “We thought we would bring together a number of architects to debate broad principles of business space development on an urban scale rather than the more traditional out-of-town business park. It has proved to be very successful.”
Danks said the guidelines would include materials used, the configuration and lay-out of buildings, car parking and environmental standards. Danks added that architects not included in the forum could work on future phases.
He said: “Certainly the four are in that privileged position of being inside the loop. But things may change. It is a 10-year project.”
Slough Estates usually uses an in-house construction management team. However it is also on the verge of choosing an external construction team that will work through all the phases of the project on a partnering basis.
Danks said this approach was intended to standardise the construction process as much as possible.
Slough Estates, which bought the 73 ha site last year, received outline planning permission last week.
The developer is in consultation with English Heritage and local authorities, and is working with listed building specialist Julian Harrap Architects on its proposals for the area. The site contains five listed buildings, including a former airship hanger.
Work is due to start on the first phase of the scheme early next year.