Luton Town Football Club’s plans for a new stadium at Power Court and mixed-use development at Newlands Park were hailed at a global architectural awards ceremony last week in the south of France.
Manuel Nogueira, from AndArchitects, led a group from 2020 Developments (Luton) Ltd – the property arm of the Sky Bet League Two club – including chief executive Gary Sweet and development director Michael Moran at MIPIM 2017, where plans for a new ground in the heart of Luton town centre won an award in the Sports & Stadiums category of The Architectural Review Future Projects Awards.
The plans for the 17,500-22,500 capacity stadium on the derelict site of a former power station beat a strong field of competitors with the new Perth Stadium in Western Australia and Power Court shortlisted – the Bedfordshire club ultimately coming out on top at the event in Cannes.
In addition to that success, the plans for Newlands Park – an aspirational retail, office, leisure, conference centre and hotel development planned for land adjacent to Junction 10 of the M1 motorway – received a commendation in the Regeneration & Masterplanning category, in which the winner was a Swedish development.
The organisers describe how the awards “recognise and celebrate the role of architecture in the creation of successful development, which includes the contribution made to the public realm as well as the quality of proposed buildings”, and that “sensitivity to existing contexts is a feature of the better entries”.
As descrbied by Architectural Review: “The stadium for the local Luton football club will be delivered in tandem with major regeneration of the site. It sits on a raised podium which allows access to public and multi-use spaces including a new river frontage within an enhanced public space designed to complement a Grade I listed church.
“The masterplan allows the restoration of a currently hidden connection between the church and the River Lea. It also aims to deliver a pedestrian-focused scheme with raised public piazzas all accessible to the wider public. The scheme brings together cutting-edge architecture and engineering to transform a post-industrial site into a dynamic attraction, delivering new facilities to enhance the life of the town.”
Other winners among the 220-plus entries from almost 30 countries came from Oman, China, Latvia, Malaysia, California and London, with only one development winning awards in two categories and the overall winner coming from New York.
Luton Town are currently awaiting the outcome of their two planning applications from Luton Borough Council, with just under 11,000 people supporting them during a public consultation period in late 2016.