Arts Quarter, Chelmsford

Arts Quarter, Chelmsford - Concept

The primary motivation in the development of the concept was to reconfigure the existing park, and to create a new urban park as a focus by re-orientating the land, this will create a sense of place allowing links from the station to the city centre. The landscape design creates a unified setting for the development, bringing together the disparate elements of the scheme and providing a cohesive framework to connect all of the elements of the design. The landscape will form a continuous sequence of spaces to be enjoyed by residents, shoppers, office workers and visitors alike. Fundamental to the success of the public realm is the creation of new connections to the town to make the development an integral part of the fabric of Chelmsford.

In addition, a route to the bustling retail district of Chelmsford and its railway station will be reinforced, and a new green land bridge will be established to make the physical connection from Central Park North to Central Park.


With the expanse of the existing park lying to the south of Parkway, the residential buildings are arranged as four splayed ‘fingers’ joined by infill buildings, in an approximately north-south orientation to optimise the beneficial aspects of sunlight and views. The blocks are built into the natural slope of the topography so that vehicular access from Parkway is level with the road. Pedestrian access is at a naturally higher level, from Central Park North, which forms the new heart of the public realm.

The site reconfigures an existing park, while the masterplan provides additional new public space to create a stronger focus for the public realm, and retaining the important existing established trees.

The site is central to the heart of Chelmsford’s West End and aims to produce a new arts quarter of economic diversity with high standards for living and working.

With the existing park lying to the south of the site, the buildings are able to capitalise on both sunlight and views. There are also opportunities to irrigate the extensive landscaping by harvesting rain water run-off.