Our development at Heyford Park builds on an intriguing history. Once an RAF and US Air Force base, the site played a key role in WWII and the Cold War, but closed in 1993 and was left largely empty for almost two decades. The area is now home to a growing community of over 1000 new homes; Corde was brought on board to help design the village centre at the heart of the development.
The centre’s wide mixture of spaces and use types – including offices, shops and affordable housing – meant that our designs needed unifying elements to give a sense of identity. We took inspiration from the air base’s distinctive architecture to ensure that buildings could be both varied in appearance and cohesive across the site.
The village centre also needed to work in harmony with every other part of the development, serving and reflecting its wider community. We therefore worked closely with the masterplan architect, gaining a detailed understanding of their overarching vision and using our experience to embody those principles in our designs. Sustainability was a core part of this: passive design principles and careful sourcing of materials has ensured that the centre will have a light footprint, making it fit for purpose not only now but many years into the future.
Heyford Park Village Centre is the keystone in a development that will rejuvenate a historic site, tying a new community together. By thinking carefully about the long-term interests of that community, we were able to lay the foundations for a new kind of neighbourhood: one that supports the wellbeing of local people, and that raises the bar for sustainability.