Visible from the highly anticipated Elizabeth Line, York Road is a strategic site in the centre of Maidenhead – a rapidly changing town with many large-scale developments happening simultaneously.
Conran and Partners’ initial brief was to support Countryside with the successful bid to become joint venture partners with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. The studio was subsequently instructed as master planners and architects for the design of York Road – the first and most strategic of four planned development phases.
The pedestrian-focussed master plan seeks to establish an open ‘campus’ feel around a new public square – creating a new cultural and residential quarter. As well as bringing green into the town centre, the layout creates views and improves access to a refurbished waterway, the York Stream, teeming with wildlife. This forms part of a wider design approach – improving connectivity between Maidenhead’s High Street and this important natural asset. Retaining the historic street patterns, our proposals provide a responsive range of forms and typologies which maximise development opportunities but also respect neighbours.
Architecturally, the scheme draws on the existing, rich patina of red brick and rigour demonstrated in the special built heritage of the context – ranging from the remaining legacy of the Victorian industrial age including Brunel’s celebrated engineering, to the excellent, uncompromising Grade II listed library by ABK which forms an edge to the site and for which the studio was able to provide an enhanced setting.
The first phase, 146 homes, has recently been completed – with champagne-coloured balustrades catching the sunlight to create dramatic shadows across each façade. This site played to our strength of designing in a historic setting – by really digging into and understanding the context we were able to create a sense of place, unique and fitting to this area of Maidenhead – a vital new neighbourhood for people to live, work and socialise.