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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 029 - Combining environmental standards and innovative design

029 - Oxley Woods, Milton Keynes

The Design for Manufacture competition challenged the development industry to build high quality homes that met all of English Partnerships legacy Quality Standards within a construction cost of £60,000; equating to £784 per m2, which the BICS confirmed was within the lowest quartile on cost for new homes built in 2007.

Consortia were encouraged to develop construction efficiencies by working with all the key players in the supply chain to maximise the potential quality of the homes. Taylor Wimpey with Rogers, Stirk, Harbour & Partners have delivered 145 innovative and imaginative homes at Oxley Park, Milton Keynes which demonstrate that rigorous environmental standards can help generate an exciting design response.

The homes have been conceived with 2 distinct zones; a central pod incorporates bathrooms, WC, staircase, utility space and services boilers, leaving an uncluttered living zone of bedrooms and living spaces. Walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, heating and ventilation systems are all prefabricated, greatly reducing on-site construction costs whilst maximising the quality of the finished product. An Ecohat sits on top of the service core acting as a new generation chimney stack, filtering fresh air and recirculating hot air. The Ecohat can incorporate photovoltaics and solar hot water to optimise energy consumption and achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions.

In March 2010 the Homes and Communities Agency (who had taken over the responsibility for the delivery from English Partnerships) published “Design for Manufacture - Lessons Learnt 2”. This report shares the lessons learnt across the ten sites where six housebuilding consortia where given the opportunity to turn their designs into reality.

“Richard Rogers Partnership and Taylor Wimpey set up a consortium which aims to combine our respective strengths. The competition has given each party the opportunity to learn from each other’s areas of expertise. The purpose of our entry into the competition was to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve good design quality and ensure construction efficiency, whilst maintaining a low cost base. We also recognise that the competition has the potential to inspire fresh thinking by increasing the level of research and development in the industry.” Graeme Dodds of Taylor Wimpey UK

Other Information

  • Location: Milton Keynes
  • Project Team: Key partners: English Partnerships, Developer: George Wimpey South Midlands, Masterplanner: David Lock Associates, Architect: Richard Rogers Partnership, Roger Stirk Harbour and partners
  • Contact:


UDC2 Section - Integrated Design 

Designs for homes at Oxley Woods, Milton Keynes have shown how rigorous environmental standards can help to generate exciting designs through off-site prefabrication, reduced on-site construction costs and features such as an ‘Ecohat’ for ventilation, photovoltaics and solar thermal heating.

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