Devonshire Gardens

Pavilion Design Competition

Introduction

Welcome to Devonshire Gardens, the upcoming mixed-use development in Cambridge from Railpen and Socius, which is seeking to identify an innovative architectural practice to design a new community pavilion for the site.

Executive Summary

The competition seeks to identify an innovative architectural practice to design a public pavilion for the Devonshire Gardens development in Cambridge. Following the assessment of an open Expression of Interest, 4 to 5 practices will be invited to proceed to the ideas phase of the competition. An honorarium of £1,500 plus VAT will be paid to each shortlisted team.

The winning team will be appointed to develop their ideas to RIBA Stage 2 at which point the scheme will be detailed and delivered by R H Partnership Architects and the delivery team. The winning team will be paid £10,000 (plus VAT) for the delivery of a Stage 2 scheme (and some input into stage 3) as a fixed fee. R H Partnership Architects and the wider design and delivery team will support the successful practice as and when required but the winning team must be capable of delivering a qualitative, innovative, and sustainable design.

The winning practice will participate in the wider marketing and promotion of the scheme and this opportunity also represents the client’s aspiration to support creative and diverse practices in their growth and development.

  • Open EOI issued:
    Friday 8th March
  • EOI submission deadline:
    Friday 22nd March
  • Shortlisted practices notified:
    Friday 5th April
  • Q&A period ends:
    Wednesday 17th April
  • Submission deadline for shortlisted teams:
    Friday 3rd May
  • Final interviews & Presentations:
    w/c 13th May
  • Winner notified and results announced:
    w/c 20th May
Submission deadline has passed.

Project brief

Introduction

This project is to design a new pavilion at the heart of a new mixed development in Cambridge. The new green garden, in which the pavilion will sit, is a critical element of the scheme and seeks to bring nature back into the city, improving biodiversity, introducing sustainable drainage, and creating places and spaces for all to enjoy.

The wider development of the site will provide significant new public realm, high-quality residential accommodation, commercial office space and other ancillary non-residential uses. The site benefits from a well-connected central Cambridge location which the proposals seek to further enhance through improved connectivity to and through the site. The proposals contribute to the reinvigoration of brownfield sites in the area surrounding Cambridge Station with the site being allocated with reference R9 in the Cambridge Local Plan.

The wider proposal seeks to deliver a comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment of the site, providing significant new public realm, alongside high-quality residential accommodation, commercial office space and other ancillary non-residential uses. The site benefits from a well-connected central Cambridge location which the proposals seek to further enhance through improved connectivity to and through the site. The proposals contribute to the reinvigoration of brownfield sites in the area surrounding Cambridge Station with the site being allocated with reference R9 in the Cambridge Local Plan.

Project brief

Introduction

This project is to design a new pavilion at the heart of a new mixed development in Cambridge. The new green garden, in which the pavilion will sit, is a critical element of the scheme and seeks to bring nature back into the city, improving biodiversity, introducing sustainable drainage, and creating places and spaces for all to enjoy.

The wider proposal seeks to deliver a comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment of the site, providing significant new public realm, alongside high-quality residential accommodation, commercial office space and other ancillary non-residential uses. The site benefits from a well-connected central Cambridge location which the proposals seek to further enhance through improved connectivity to and through the site. The proposals contribute to the reinvigoration of brownfield sites in the area surrounding Cambridge Station with the site being allocated with reference R9 in the Cambridge Local Plan.

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Location and site

The site is located a 5-minute walk north of Cambridge train station, just to the south of Mill Road and around a 20-minute walk from Cambridge City Centre. The site covers approximately 1.23 hectares and is bounded by Devonshire Road on the West, Devonshire Road Mews to the North and Angus Close to the South.

Pedestrian movement from the south comes from the Railway station whereas the north pedestrians will be making their way from Mill Road.

The site is not within a conservation area, but is adjacent to Mill Road Conservation Area, which is comprised of two-character areas, as described in the Mill Road Conservation Area Appraisal - the Mill Road & St Matthews Areas to the west of the railway line and Romsey Town to the east of the railway line. Victorian dwellings are the principle building type of the area.

The Railway Cottages off Mill Road (numbers 126-134) to the north of the site are listed by Cambridge City Council as ‘Buildings of Local Interest’. The DAS and Stage 3 report will be provided to the shortlisted teams.

Full planning permission was granted for the site in May 2023 (planning reference 22/01982/FUL). A subsequent minor material amendment (Section 73 application reference 23/04732/S73) was submitted in December 2023 and is expected to be determined by 11th March 2024 via delegated authority.

Total Reclaims Demolition have been appointed as the demolition contractor and works are currently underway to clear the site before main construction commences in May 2024.

The sites relationship with listed buildings is very limited. In closest proximity are the Grade II listed Cambridge railway station and the Grade II listed Cambridge Branch Library building on Mill Road. The Railway Cottages off Mill Road (numbers 126-134) to the north of the Site are listed by Cambridge City Council as ‘Buildings of Local Interest’. Impacts on the setting of these assets, and others which may be affected at further distance from the site by reason of a potential increase in height, has been fully considered.

The DAS and Stage 3 report will be provided to the shortlisted teams.

Full planning permission was granted for the site in May 2023 (planning reference 22/01982/FUL). A subsequent minor material amendment (Section 73 application reference 23/04732/S73) was submitted in December 2023 and is expected to be determined by 11th March 2024 via delegated authority.

Total Reclaims Demolition have been appointed as the demolition contractor and works are currently underway to clear the site before main construction commences in May 2024.

Location and site

The site is located a 5-minute walk north of Cambridge train station, just to the south of Mill Road and around a 20-minute walk from Cambridge City Centre. The site covers approximately 1.23 hectares and is bounded by Devonshire Road on the West, Devonshire Road Mews to the North and Angus Close to the South.

Pedestrian movement from the south comes from the Railway station whereas the north pedestrians will be making their way from Mill Road.

The site is not within a conservation area, but is adjacent to Mill Road Conservation Area, which is comprised of two-character areas, as described in the Mill Road Conservation Area Appraisal - the Mill Road & St Matthews Areas to the west of the railway line and Romsey Town to the east of the railway line. Victorian dwellings are the principle building type of the area.

The sites relationship with listed buildings is very limited. In closest proximity are the Grade II listed Cambridge railway station and the Grade II listed Cambridge Branch Library building on Mill Road. The Railway Cottages off Mill Road (numbers 126-134) to the north of the Site are listed by Cambridge City Council as ‘Buildings of Local Interest’. Impacts on the setting of these assets, and others which may be affected at further distance from the site by reason of a potential increase in height, has been fully considered.

The DAS and Stage 3 report will be provided to the shortlisted teams.

Full planning permission was granted for the site in May 2023 (planning reference 22/01982/FUL). A subsequent minor material amendment (Section 73 application reference 23/04732/S73) was submitted in December 2023 and is expected to be determined by 11th March 2024 via delegated authority.

Total Reclaims Demolition have been appointed as the demolition contractor and works are currently underway to clear the site before main construction commences in May 2024.

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Project Vision and Objectives

The client brief establishes a strong vision from the outset that is imperative to the successful delivery of the scheme. It has been used to underpin every decision made throughout the design process. The vision for the future of Devonshire Gardens can be summarised as follows:

  • Delivering generous and welcoming new public green spaces, including intimate residential courtyards and a lush, open garden, forming the heart of the scheme, which can also host sustainable and engaging community events and activities.
  • Creating a mixed-use scheme with complementary uses and occupiers, delivering genuine social, economic and environmental value. A great place for people to live, work, meet and relax.
  • Forming a new neighbourhood that captures the spirit of Mill Road with a people-focussed design, thinking about a typical day in the life of a visitor, local resident, or worker at Devonshire Gardens.
  • Providing flexible, ground floor spaces for independent, community uses that a Local Needs Survey demonstrates are in demand and carefully curating these to provide a cluster of diverse, desired amenities.
  • Learning from the successes of local, exemplar, high-quality residential schemes, and adding a cultural Mill Road flavour to create a point of difference for this proposal.
  • Delivering environmental improvements to Devonshire Road and providing a green, natural buffer to the surrounding terraced housing.
  • Designed to respond positively to the biodiversity crisis with around 350% Biodiversity Net Gain achieved on the site through new tree planting, new habitats and interventions to support birds, bats, insects and hedgehog populations.
  • Aligning with the UK Green Building Council’s (GBC) Advancing Net Zero initiative and Cambridge’s climate emergency declaration by targeting buildings that are Net Zero Carbon in operation by 2030.
  • Encouraging and facilitating active travel by providing exemplary bicycle facilities, changing and shower facilities for workers and integrating with the forthcoming Chisholm Trail for both pedestrians and cyclists with dedicated paths carefully woven across the Site.
  • Designing spaces and places to enhance well-being and make people happy by generating informal collision points between residents, workers, and visitors, encouraging social interaction, and bringing those people closer to nature.
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    The objectives for this pavilion project include:

    • Creating a central covered space that can be used for a variety of activities and events.
    • Ensuring the pavilion sits well within its context, enhances the architecture and vibrancy of the development and complements the landscape setting.
    • Ensuring that the structure, materials, details, and form meets the sustainability goals and aspirations of the wider scheme.

    The pavilion must allow for flexibility of use and provide a gathering point for the local community. It must be capable of hosting a range of events and activities including, but not limited to:

    • Informal gathering space and meeting point for the local community.
    • Social events.
    • Local hobby groups.
    • Pop-ups.
    • Exhibitions.
    • Learning space and activities for the creche and local community /schools.

    The design team have developed early ideas as part of the planning application which are as follows:

    • The proposed dimensions for the pavilion structure within the current planning permission is 16m long by 8m wide.
    • It consists for a roof canopy supported on 15 columns.
    • The roof canopy is shown at 4m in height and consisting of a timber lattice.

    The pavilion will sit in the heart of the new courtyard gardens which will be framed by the new buildings. The design concept for the landscape is for a luscious, planted garden surrounded by built form, and enveloped in a woodland band. The spaces between the buildings provide opportunities for the garden to spill out of the courtyard and to draw people into the site. The garden is to be a place for all, with a variety of different types of spaces, meandering routes around planters and playful elements for all including stepping stones, bridges and hammocks.

    Interventions to encourage biodiversity are integrated around the site including insect houses and bird boxes. Rain gardens wrap around the western buildings to contribute to SuDS features. The palette in the public realm includes Corten steel to the planter edges, and timber to street furniture with ‘green’ paving units providing soft edges against buildings and the rain gardens. The character of the planting underneath the trees is inspired by woodland mixes.

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      20 seats are currently shown under the canopy, and the surrounding low retaining walls to the mounds provide enclosure and further seating provision. Entrants should be mindful that designs should respect the landscape concept and principles and design but that there is potential for limited redesign of the position of planter edges around the pavilion subject to the proposal. This will be done in collaboration with the appointed landscape architect, LDA Design.

      These initial ideas developed by the design team are for guidance only and should not inhibit your ideas. We are seeking a creative response to the brief.

      Technical Information

      Budget: A total gross project budget allowance for the pavilion of £130,000 has been included in the cost plan, with a net construction cost of circa £100,000.

      Environmental targets: This development scheme is using the One Planet Living framework in the design and planning process to strengthen its sustainability ambitions. The pavilion project will be highly sustainable in its design, delivery, and construction, contributing to the One living Planet framework and project sustainability requirements. We would strongly encourage the use of biogenic or recycled materials. How the materials will weather over time and the overall design life of the structure is also an important consideration, and we would encourage a design life of 50+ years.

      Utilities: Information on site constraints such as utilities and drainage will be provided to the shortlisted teams.

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      Project Governance: Railpen are the ultimate client and will have the final say if the jury are unable to reach a consensus on a winning team. Socius is the appointed Development & Project Manager and will be the day-to-day contact for the project.

      Project design team: The Development Manager and Project Manager is Socius, and key contacts are Doug Higgins, Development Director, and Olaide Oboh, Director. R H Partnership Architects is providing lead and architectural services led by Tom Foggin and LDA Design, the landscape and public realm architects, is led by Sarah Potter. Hoare Lea will provide MEP building services with Ramboll providing civil and structural engineering services. Morgan Sindall have now been appointed under a PCSA and will be available to provide advice.

      Programme: Commencement of the main works is targeted for mid-2024 with practical completion of the whole development targeted for mid-2026. The landscaping elements are likely to be the last to be constructed and therefore the pavilion construction will be towards the end of the programme.

      RIBA Design Stage 2 for the pavilion project is likely to span 3 months, but precise programme duration to be discussed with the winning candidate and design team in light of the concept design and coordination requirements.

      Second Stage Submissions

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      Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 3 files.
      Supporting documents required by practices (Design and Access Statement, RIBA Stage 3 Report, etc) have been shared with shortlisted practices via the email address associated with your EOI submission.

      When submitting your proposals, please consider the EOI stage requirements which are as follows:

      • a
        Brief CVs of key personnel who would be directly involved in developing and delivering the scheme (four sides of A4 maximum)
      • b
        Practice information capability/experience of similar projects (three pages A4 maximum)
      • c
        Two case studies of recent (within last 5 years) projects that the key personnel have worked on. One of these can be an individual’s project undertaken at a previous practice or as a collaboration with another practice as long as this is clearly stated (four pages A4 max)
      • d
        Accreditations and membership of professional bodies (1 x page A4 max)
      • e
        Practice ESG/EDI approach and /or policies (1 x page A4 max). We would encourage local practices to apply
      Please use the form below to fill out your details and upload your information. Late submissions will not be accepted.
      SOCIUS pavilion competition submission form
      Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
      Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 3 files.
      Supporting documents required by practices (Design and Access Statement, RIBA Stage 3 Report, etc) have been shared with shortlisted practices via the email address associated with your EOI submission.
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      • Open EOI issued:
        Friday 1st March
      • EOI submission deadline:
        Friday 15th March
      • Shortlisted practices notified:
        Friday 29th March
      • Q&A period ends:
        Wednesday 10th April
      • Submission deadline for shortlisted teams:
        Friday 26th April
      • Final interviews & Presentations:
        w/c 6th May
      • Winner notified and results announced:
        w/c 13th May

      Your designs and ideas will be considered and carefully considered by the following Judging Panel:

      • Alan Pemberton – TFT, on behalf of Railpen
      • Doug Higgins – Socius, development manager on Devonshire Gardens
      • Sarah Williams – S Williams Architects, RIBA Client Adviser
      • Tom Foggin – R H Partnership Architects, lead architect on Devonshire Gardens
      • Sarah Potter – LDA Design, landscape architect on Devonshire Gardens
      • Sarah Chubb – Urban Design Officer, Cambridge City Council
      • James Ward – Head of Cambridge School of Creative Industries, Anglia Ruskin University
      • Fiona Chesterton - local resident and former Chair of Cambridge City Council Public Art Panel
      • Bettina Furnée – local resident

      FAQs

      Logistics
      Design

      Terms and Conditions

      For full Terms and Conditions of the competition, please download the full brief in its entirety here.

      Honoraria: Honoraria will be payable to each shortlisted team who complies with the requirements of the competition and attends the final presentations. Railpen undertakes to pay within four weeks of the date of the award, an honorarium of GBP £1,500 (plus VAT) to each team as a contribution towards the cost of developing their ideas.

      Alongside the payment of £10,000 for Stage 2 development and delivery plus additional review time at Stage 3, the team will benefit from other opportunities such as:

    • a
      Inclusion in marketing materials for the wider project
    • b
      Mentoring and support from R H Partnership Architects and the wider delivery team
    • c

      Developing relationships and opportunities with the client

    • The intention is to help support younger, diverse practices in their growth and development through this opportunity.

      Site visit: No formal site visit will be arranged due to ongoing demolition works on site, but shortlisted teams are able to visit the area if they wish to understand the local context.

        Second Stage submission requirements:

      • a
        Four x A3 (digital) showing design ideas, including a response to site context. The proposal should be presented in a clear and succinct manner to enable the Judging Panel and Stakeholders to readily understand the concept and design ideas
      • b
        A short accompanying design statement to include a written description of the proposal outlining how the design responds to the vision, brief and objectives for the project (four sides of A4 maximum)
      • c
        A presentation to the judging panel of 40 minutes (20 mins presentation and 20 mins Q&A) This can be presented digitally or physically
        Assessment Criteria: The competition seeks to select a preferred architectural practice on the basis of a possible design approach (rather than a finite design solution), the proposed team members and their ability to work collaboratively with the client, their representatives and design team. The judging panel will be looking at both the approach that the team have taken to the scheme and the practices experience and team members. The following criteria will be used to evaluate design proposals:
      • a
        Appreciation of the site and consequent planning issues, including preliminary response to masterplan, context, and proposed design
      • b
        Quality and appropriateness of the proposed design approach/ideas
      • c
        Understanding of the client’s expectations, brief and ability to work in partnership with the client/design team
      • c
        Understanding of and capacity to deliver the project (at Stage 2) within a strict budget
        Presentations: Shortlisted teams will be invited to present their design proposals and answer questions from the Judging Panel at interviews which will be held at Fora, 20 Station Road, Cambridge, CB1 2JD. The format for each interview is expected to be a 20-minute presentation of the design ideas, followed by up to 20 minutes for Q&A from the Panel. Each team should view the final assessment as their opportunity to convince the Judging Panel of their ability to deliver this project.
        Copyright: Competitors will retain ownership of copyright in their works produced as part of this competition. Once RIBA Stage 2 is complete, the winning team shall grant a licence of copyright in their design to Railpen. Under this licence, Railpen shall grant a sublicence to R H Partnership Architects (RHP) which will allow RHP to deliver the pavilion based on the winning design. The form of appointment for the winning team is proposed as the RIBA standard form of contract as amended for the purposes of this competition.

      Shortlist and Winner

      Shortlisted entry name 01

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      Shortlisted entry name 02

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      Shortlisted entry name 03

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      To view the shortlist, scroll here:
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      Andre Kong Studio
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      Artefact x Cake Industries

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      George King Architects

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      Kevin Kelly Architects

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      McMullan Studio

        Get in Touch

        To download the competition brief in full, please click here.

        All enquiries should be addressed to: Doug Higgins, Development Director at Socius, via doug.higgins@socius.dev.

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