Competing Masterplan Visions for MK:U revealed


Milton Keynes Council (MKC), Cranfield University and MK:U International Design Competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC), alternative masterplan visions for MK:U, a proposed new model university in the Oxford to Cambridge innovation arc.

The proposed new university, which is due to open to its first undergraduates in 2023, will focus on digital economy skills and practical, business-oriented courses; it also plans to offer fast-track two-year degrees. MK:U, a partnership between MKC and Cranfield University, will use the new University Quarter and the wider city as a ‘living lab’ to test out new concepts and ideas, and inspire Milton Keynes’ students and citizens.

Benefitting from the last major undeveloped site in the city centre, and mixing university facilities with public spaces, MK:U will also be a destination open 24/7, welcoming the wider community. MK:U recently announced a £30m boost from Santander, one of the biggest corporate gifts to British higher education in recent years.

And MK:U’s focus on technology skills is timely — research published this month by the government’s Digital Economy Council found Britain to be creating more $1 billion technology companies than any other country apart from the US and China.

The first stage of the competition, which launched in January 2019, attracted 53 team submissions comprising 257 individual firms from across the globe. The five finalist design teams who reached the second stage were asked to submit concept designs for phase one
(construction budget approximately £188 m), including a masterplan and key buildings for the 10-hectare city centre site, and for 61,120 sqm of built area.

The designs, along with physical models and videos, will also go on display in a free exhibition, Milton Keynes: A Journey to 2050, between 4–7 July 2019 in Middleton Hall, thecentre:mk, Milton Keynes. Feedback will be passed to the twelve competition jurors who will meet to interview the teams and select the winner later in the month. Source by Milton Keynes Council (MKC) and images Courtesy of Malcolm Reading Consultants.

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