Architects propose turning village into medieval city

Artist's impression of Calvert city by 5th Studio

Artist's impression of Calvert city by 5th Studio

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A ‘medieval’ style city should be built in Bucks, according to a firm of renowned architects.

Calvert has been identified by the firm 5th Studio as having the potential to grow into a city.

artist's impression of Calvert city PNL-140107-165132001
artist's impression of Calvert city PNL-140107-165132001

It says the village would lend itself to becoming a carbon-neutral, compact city with a university campus, surrounded by ‘highly managed countryside’.

Calvert, it says, is a location ‘catalysed by two major engineering projects (East West Rail and HS2), which make a new city possible’.

The proposals were made as part of a 2,200-word plan inspired by this year’s Wolfson Economics Prize.

The competition, launched in November, asked entrants to propose a visionary garden city without a single penny of public money.

artist's impression of Calvert city by 5th Studio PNL-140107-154328001
artist's impression of Calvert city by 5th Studio PNL-140107-154328001

But 5th Studio, a collection of 23 architects who have designed dozens of buildings and landscapes including Olympic legacy project Lea River Park, decided to critique the proposition rather than enter.

5th Studio director Tom Holbrook said: “We tend to leave huge projects such as High Speed 2 to engineers.

“But, as an exercise in a species of problem-solving, we ask instead: ‘What if the state used that huge investment of money, land and political energy in multiple ways to create delight?’ Calvert is a proposition that welds infrastructure, landscape, provisioning, planning and architecture into an intense singularity.

The proposition includes a university campus as an expansion of the Open University at Milton Keynes as its location ‘intersects the varsity line knowledge corridor between Oxford and Cambridge’.

calvert city PNL-140107-165307001
calvert city PNL-140107-165307001

Calvert city would be able to ‘recycle its own waste’ to realise energy and ‘purify its own water’, regulated by connection to the canal system.

There would be a town square which would ‘serve the whole settlement’ while no where would be more than a ‘20-minute stroll’ from that centre point.

The proposal is based on the fact that large amounts of land will be bought at Calvert for HS2. Therefore, it says the ‘coincidence of two new railways and a new city’ makes ‘full use of this original land purchase’.

Firm associate Kieran Perkins said the population could be up to 100,000 in a setting similar to a ‘medieval city’ but the plans are simply to provoke debate.

He said: “There’s a very serious point behind it but the exact location is provocative rather than being somewhere we are expecting to build next week.” Read the full proposal, at h


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