John Muir’s winning competition entry for the regeneration of the redundant railway works in Swindon was selected by Thamesdown Borough Council and he commissioned by Tarmac (later Carillion), as architect and urban designer to masterplan and design a complete new urban quarter on the site of the former GWR yards at Swindon. This would include an office park of 500,000 sq ft.
The challenge was colossal, not least because the 142-acre site included over one million square feet of space provided in listed buildings. But the team were able to interleave new development with the best of the old in a masterplan proposing a shopping mall and outlet centre, a superstore, a multiplex cinema, museum and other employment, leisure and residential uses, together with a complete new access and infrastructure network.
John Muir acted not just as masterplanner, urban designer and architect, but had a place on the Development Committee set up by Tarmac for the new Churchward quarter that involved them in public consultation, press and publicity and the appointment of executive architects for individual elements of the regeneration plan.
Churchward is now an established and integrated part of the Swindon community and serves as template for urban regeneration of its type and scale. Tarmac – now Carillion – continues to play a part. It has revitalized the town and introduced a tourist industry that did not previously exist. These photographs capture the atmosphere of the new conservation area that we name Churchward after the great railway engineer of that name.