Chesterfield News


University students wow the Gateway at PEAK development team with architectural designs


Students at the University of Derby have impressed the team at Milligan, who are developing the Gateway at PEAK, after unveiling their architectural visions for the UK’s first fully-serviced national park gateway based in Chesterfield.

The Gateway at PEAK will be part of the 300-acre PEAK Resort, consented on the eastern boundary of the Peak District. As part of developer Milligan and landowner Birchall Properties’ partnership with the University of Derby, undergraduate and Masters level students responded to a live brief and were challenged to assume the role of architect on the project.

The students were asked to consider local communities, wildlife preservation, sustainable design with a Net Zero Carbon objective, and respectfully incorporate the Peak District’s natural beauty into their designs.

The students worked in teams to envision scheme designs and complementary uses such as F&B, retail and exhibits, delivering unique concepts that offered a broad spectrum of options for the developers to consider.

After all the proposals were submitted, the Milligan development shortlisted four finalists who were awarded a share of £1,000.

The Gateway at Peak architectural designs – University of Derby

Dr Boris Ceranic, Course Director for Masters Programmes and Centre of Excellence Leader at the University of Derby, said: “I was impressed by the quality of the work and particularly pleased by the way undergraduate and Masters students have worked together as a team to deliver such complex and demanding design charrette briefs.

The designs were inspiring, with highly sustainable and distinctive visions of unique visitor experiences, resolved through proposals that blurred the boundaries between the open and enclosed, solid and transparent, static and fluid, natural and built environment.”

Lecturer, Graham Markwell comments, “This live project has allowed us to work with industry partners to deliver a high-quality experiential learning initiative. The students have produced innovative solutions to the brief provided and have greatly benefitted from interacting with professional clients and real-world projects.”

The Gateway at Peak architectural designs – University of Derby

Gary Dawson, second year student on the BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Venue Design talks about the project and the valuable experience it provided; “We really enjoyed working on the project, being able to apply our creative skills to a public space of the future was fantastic and gave a real sense of how we will apply the skills we are learning in future careers. Having the opportunity to push ourselves and see what we can accomplish, in the limited time we had, helped us all begin to realise what we are capable of achieving and what our futures might be like.”

For Milligan the project was a great way of not only accessing some fresh thinking for the development but also a way of inspiring the next generation of creative talent within the industry.

Paul Hanegraaf, Creative Director at Milligan notes “I was blown away by the quality and thought put into each submission – especially as the students had little under a week to prepare.

We have been developing the plans for the Gateway at PEAK for some time and will soon be announcing the architect we have appointed before revealing their plans later in the year.

It’s wonderful to have input and inspiration from the next generation of designers, planners and architects, after all, it is that generation we’re building this inspiring place for.”

The Gateway at Peak architectural designs – University of Derby

Rupert Carr, Director of Birchall Properties adds “I was delighted with the quality and the quantity of the work produced by the students in such a short period of time. It was nothing less than remarkable and I was genuinely uplifted by the thinking and consideration behind the concepts the students shared.

“Of particular note for me was the way all teams expressed real enthusiasm for and belief in the potential for a better built environment, one with an underlying philosophy to deliver social and environmental benefits as well as great commercial opportunities”.

The Gateway at PEAK is part of PEAK Resort, where works for the all-weather, all-year, all-ages Summit at PEAK, are already underway. PEAK Resort also has planning permission for up to 2,000 hotel rooms and 250 lodges as well as a whole range of leisure, education and entertainment facilities, attracting investment and creating employment opportunities.

The Gateway at Peak architectural designs – University of Derby

Josh Marsh

Destination Chesterfield Coordinator (Investment and Marketing)

Email Josh

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