4000 housing units
Thickthorn Residential, Norwich, United Kingdom
Atelier PRO started to develop the master plan for the Norwich Research Park (118,000+20,000 m2), the Norwich Medical Park (99,000 m2) and the Thickthorn Residential District (4,000 housing units and facilities) in the gently rolling landscape of South Norfolk outside Norwich in 2007. This large-scale plan is inspired by the English landscape park. The Norwich Research Park is a place where companies and institutes are concentrated, relating to health care, nutrition and environment. This location is close to Norwich University Hospital, the University of East Anglia, and a number of research institutes. The result will be a centre for biomedical knowledge and industry.
The typical English landscape dominates the plan. The buildings are the pearls in the landscape (Repton). They are concentrated at a number of points, leaving the character and the long visual axes of the landscape open. Traffic and parked vehicles are hidden from sight, sunken in the landscape to avoid disturbing this picture. The surrounding landscape is further characterised by green chambers, fields surrounded by thickets, wooded banks and trees, with solitary old trees beside the roadside. We have seized on these elements and incorporated them in the plans.
The concentrations of buildings are situated on the edge of the fields, partly between the trees and partly on the field. The south side of the chamber or field consists of buildings, the north side of trees. An additional quality is that the entire site is on a slope that runs down to the river, resulting in interesting and attractive views from the open terrain. The master plan for the Research Park is a long-term development strategy. Within this framework, a building can be added taking into account the demands of its time. This will result, in the future, in a variegated architectural picture that will always remain secondary to the rolling landscape of Norwich.
The Central Hub, a building for a cluster of enterprises (27,000 m2), forms the heart of the plan right at the centre of the location. This is the first building of the plan. It will accommodate entrepreneurs who are starting up companies, as well as laboratories and institutes. The plinth will accommodate facilities such as cafés, restaurants and a mini-market. The Central Hub will also contain a hotel and short stay apartments. The other buildings are situated as satellites around the central cluster building in a park landscape. Public transport brings people to the Central Hub, from there they can walk through the landscape to work.
In connection with the plans for the Norwich Research Park, Atelier PRO was also asked to draw up a master plan for a new residential district nearby: Thickthorn. The English landscape is also the starting point for the design of this district with some 4,000 housing units. By concentrating housing strategically in the area, the borders of the district can be left open. Green lobes beside the major traffic arteries of the district ensure that the landscape penetrates deep into the district. At any point in the district, a one minute’s walk will bring you to a green area. Other important themes for the residential district are: diversity in housing environments, high-quality public space, good access, and the provision of a good level of amenities, including various shops, two primary schools, a secondary school and catering facilities.