Competition to find 'landmark' university design for MK:U in Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Council and Cranfield University launched a competition yesterday for a landmark design for MK:U, a new model university for Milton Keynes.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 9:26 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:58 pm

The winning design will be judged by a panel of innovative public figures involved in architecture and urban planning.

That design is expected to deliver an ‘outstanding synthesis of architecture, landscaping, public realm and student experience, setting a new standard in university architecture and a creating a memorable destination for citizens.'

The MK:U International Design Competition is a two-stage competition comprised of an open Expression of Interest followed by a design period for a shortlist of five teams.

Creative teams, led by an architect, should, as a minimum, include: urban designer/masterplanner, landscape architect, structural engineer, civil/utilities engineer, and MEP (services) engineer.

Shortlisted teams will create an overall masterplan for the site as well as concept designs for 61,120sqm of built area in phase one; this phase has a construction budget of approximately £188m.

Full details of the competition, including the Search Statement and how to enter, can be found online at

Councillor Pete Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “MK:U will have an exceptionally strong relationship to MK because the city’s long-term future — and ambition to grow to half a million residents by 2050 — depends on retaining and attracting talent.

“The city will be the university and the university the city. The welcoming University Quarter — the last major undeveloped site in the city centre — will mix university facilities with public spaces, invigorating the public realm with new energy both day and night.

“Through the ‘living lab’ approach, MK’s citizens and businesses will all have the opportunity to participate in the university’s research, education and social activities and contribute to its students’ learning.”

There will be a public exhibition (physical and online) of all the second-stage designs before the jury meets.

The winner announcement is expected in summer 2019.