Cambridge Civic Quarter: CP appointed Consortium Lead

The practice has been selected to lead a development consultancy that will transform Cambridge's Civic Quarter.

Cambridge City Council has appointed a development consultancy team, led by award-winning architects Cartwright Pickard, to lead its once-in-a-century opportunity to reimagine Cambridge’s Market Square, Guildhall, and Corn Exchange to create a new civic quarter for the city.

The appointment followed a comprehensive tender process which invited teams to submit proposals to develop a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Stage 2 design for the area that would:

  • Create a focal point in the centre of Cambridge that local people can be proud of and which lives up to the city’s world-renowned reputation as a centre of excellence and cultural significance
  • Attract residents and visitors to spend more time in the market, the Corn Exchange, and city centre shops, restaurants and bars
    Build on the agreed vision for the Market Square, to make it a more accessible, attractive, welcoming, exciting and safe place to visit, shop and gather during the day and into the evening
  • Make the Corn Exchange a more modern and appealing venue with updated facilities, while exploring new commercial opportunities and reducing operational costs
  • Conserve the Grade II listed Guildhall as a net zero-carbon building to save running costs, with a welcoming environment for the public, and fit-for-future working spaces for council uses; while creating new spaces for commercial occupiers in order to increase the council’s income from the building to support running frontline council services

Cartwright Pickard, alongside other members of the consultancy team, have a strong track record in working on civic and heritage buildings. They have designed re-purposed listed town hall buildings for Bromley and Lambeth. The Lambeth project has won several awards and the Bromley project is shortlisted for a RIBA award. Cartwright Pickard are renowned specialists in retrofit and will work closely with partners Marick Real Estate to deliver long-term commercial viability of the civic quarter.

Having now been appointed by the council, the consultancy team, which includes several Cambridge based organisations, will develop concept designs (up to RIBA Stage 2) through a process of comprehensive community and stakeholder engagement.

Throughout the design phase there will be ongoing opportunities for individuals as well as community and stakeholder groups to provide feedback into the designs. Specialist community engagement consultancy ECF has been appointed as part of the team to run that process.

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the project is invited to attend the Cambridge Civic Quarter Liaison Group meeting on Wednesday 15 May, at 4pm to 5pm, in person at the Guildhall. You can also sign up via the project website to receive project updates by email.

Following the engagement programme and completion of the RIBA stage 2 design work, the development proposals will be considered by councillors in November 2024. If approved, further development work would progress beyond RIBA stage 2, with comprehensive community engagement taking place throughout the project.

Cllr Simon Smith, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “The Cartwright Pickard-led team have made a fantastic start already. They have committed to a full programme of engagement with local people – those who currently use the Market and council buildings and those who don’t often visit this part of town – and key stakeholders including market traders and other local businesses. This is a once-in-a-century opportunity and it’s vital to us that the plans for the new quarter can be drawn up based on what we hear from local people.

“The Guildhall site has been a seat of local government since 1224, so it’s fitting that we’re able to start this exciting project during this 800th anniversary year. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in what happens at the Guildhall, Corn Exchange and Market to join us at the event on the 15th, or to sign up for email updates. Make sure you take the opportunity to share your ideas and have your say on the new quarter at the heart of the city centre.”

The development consultancy team comprises:

Cartwright Pickard
- Renowned for their innovative approach to architecture, Cartwright Pickard has led transformative projects such as Lambeth Town Hall and Bromley Town Hall. Their leadership promises to blend decades of experience with forward-thinking design solutions to reimagine Cambridge's Civic Quarter

Marick Real Estate Ltd
- Marick Real Estate Ltd brings extensive experience in real estate development, project management, and financial analysis. Their proven track record in delivering commercial success will be invaluable in ensuring the long-term viability and sustainability of the redevelopment

ECF - ECF is a leading communications and engagement consultancy specialising in built environment projects. ECF will leverage decades of experience and community knowledge of the Cambridge area through its work with LandsecU+I and TOWN on the Hartree project. It will work with local stakeholders and residents to deliver a collaborative and meaningful approach

LDA Design - LDA Design is a leading landscape design practice entrusted with some of the UK's most important public and civic spaces, including Battersea Power Station. Their expertise in landscape and public realm design will enhance the attractiveness and accessibility of the revamped Civic Quarter

Carter Jonas - With a history dating back to 1855, Carter Jonas is a leading national property consultancy providing planning advice of the highest quality. Their Eastern planning team, based in Cambridge, will deliver expert guidance on navigating planning regulations and maximising the project's potential

Max Fordham - Max Fordham is a pioneer in environmental building services engineering, specialising in sustainability and low-carbon design. Their innovative approach will ensure that the redevelopment aligns with ambitious sustainability goals, setting a new standard for environmentally conscious design

Conisbee - Conisbee is a highly successful structural and civil engineering consultancy with a strong local presence. Their expertise in engineering solutions will ensure the structural integrity and safety of the redeveloped buildings and public spaces

Turley, Cambridge Office - Turley is a multi-disciplinary consultancy specialising in heritage planning, providing invaluable expertise on heritage issues integral to the project. Their local knowledge and specialist advice will help preserve and celebrate Cambridge's rich cultural heritage

KMC - KMC is a transport planning and infrastructure design consultancy deeply rooted in Cambridge. Their intimate knowledge of the city's transportation networks will drive efforts to enhance accessibility and connectivity within the Civic Quarter

Theatreplan - Theatreplan is a specialist technical theatre design consultancy with a wealth of experience in creating exceptional performance spaces. Their expertise will ensure that a revamped Corn Exchange meets the highest standards for theatrical performance and audience experience

Arup - Arup is the largest fire engineering practice in the UK, bringing extensive technical experience and specialist engineers to ensure the safety and resilience of the redeveloped buildings