Blog: SECBE Awards 2022 finalist - Church Farm, Radley

14 April 2022

Project of the Year over £10m sponsored by Hill Dickinson

Church Farm, Radley (submitted by Ridge and Partners LLP)

Building Project of the Year over £10m SECBE Award 2022 finalist

Church Farm is a beautiful and highly sustainable residential development in the Oxfordshire village of Radley, delivering an architecturally diverse, but cohesive, development. The inclusive project provides a good balance of social, shared ownership and private sale accommodation for households of diverse backgrounds, sizes and types.

The project creates 246 residential units, comprising 45 house types and three apartment development types, with contemporary architecture to the north and traditional styles to the south.

The Ridge Architecture team was appointed by developer Blenheim Estate / Pye Homes to redevelop an existing, legacy-driven concept design, with input from our in-house Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering and Geo-Environmental teams. Ridge was subsequently appointed to act as Executive Architect after securing planning permission.

While retaining some core ideas, the legacy concept required substantial reworking, accompanied by innovative building strategies, to achieve a truly outstanding place to live. The design increased building density while providing bespoke, higher-quality and more energy-efficient homes which meet national space standards. Ridge increased the green space, making it a focal point for community interaction, events, leisure and children’s play while celebrating the site’s key natural features.

Well-considered, quality detailing enhances the vernacular design, helping the development complement its surroundings, with contemporary interpretations of vernacular elements to facilitate modern family living standards (including eyelash window frames and large-format windows). The homes, built with traditional materials, have been future-proofed for adaptation to changing space requirements throughout people’s lives.

The project team worked with residents, stakeholders and the planning authority to achieve a design which exceeded the legacy requirement of the initial landowner, Radley College, to improve the community while meeting maintenance and sustainability targets.

Ridge adopted a predominantly fabric-first approach, supplemented by photovoltaic panels and air-source heating, to achieve our low carbon and Passivhaus principles and EPC A accreditation. We specified quality materials and robust detailing to ensure longevity and reduce maintenance requirements. Detailed drawings corresponded with the buildings’ material tolerances to minimise waste. Procurement is locally sourced, from trades to materials such as stone.

Ridge designed the accommodation to meet funding needs while ensuring compliance with Minimum Space Standards, Lifetime Homes, Secure by Design, Part M4 (2 and 3), Manuals for Streets 2 and the local Design Guide.

Active landscaping features and a dynamic public realm centre our wellbeing-focused strategy. We worked closely with Landscape Architect Fabrik to create attractive spaces, including tree-lined streets, a colonnade along the main site artery, pleasing landscaping around buildings and vibrant public open space (a community orchard, public seating, space for the likes of carol singing and specialist food vans, and children’s play areas).

A remarkable lack of community objections enabled planning to proceed through Vale of White Horse District Council’s delegated powers – a rarity for developments of this type in the UK. Ridge and the whole project team are proud of this wonderful project, which is a testament to the benefits of early community and stakeholder engagement as well as excellent project team collaboration.

Key achievements:

  • Church Farm is socially inclusive - the masterplan delivers a socially and architecturally diverse development with a mix of social housing and private for sale accommodation and residential formats which cater for households of various sizes and types. The social housing is spread throughout the site, rather than being clustered, helping to achieve a high degree of social integration. Social housing provider Soha Housing was very happy with the selection of properties available, particularly because of the tenure-blind design and construction and the diversity of living formats on offer.
  • Church Farm is highly sustainable – the project focused on low carbon and Passivhaus goals and EPC A accreditation from the start, as well as minimising waste, ensuring flexibility and longevity, encouraging biodiversity and adopting small-scale “Sponge City” principles to save and reuse water while preventing flooding.
  • The Church Farm project is community-minded – the legacy document that informed the development required a development which would contribute to the local community; Ridge's  design encourages social interaction, community events and local commerce as well as providing a safe and beautiful natural space in which children can play and adults can relax. This is why the local community gave the project such overwhelming support.

Client: Blenheim Estate / Pye Homes

Project Partners: Ridge and Partners LLP, Radley College, Fabrik


Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022 Ceremony on Thurs 30th June 2022.


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About the Building Project of the Year over £10m Award (sponsored by  Hill Dickinson) 

Project of the Year delivers outstanding outcomes for all those involved in a construction project.  It showcases the benefits achieved through the application of many of the principles described in the other award categories. More info.

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards finalists here

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