Design: BDP and Chapman Taylor
Opening date: September 2017
Size: 53,883 sq m
The Lexicon Bracknell, a £240 million new retail, leisure and dining development in the heart of Bracknell, is open for business. One of the largest urban regeneration schemes, the town centre has been transformed by The Bracknell Regeneration Partnership, a 50:50 joint venture between Legal & General Capital and Schroder UK Real Estate Fund, working with Bracknell Forest Council. The scheme includes the first, new build, full line Fenwick department store to be opened in 14 years.
'The transformation of Bracknell has been a massive challenge. Much hard work, imagination and investment was required to turn the previously run-down town centre into a vibrant, enticing destination in line with its affluent catchment. Significantly, this is the first post-war New Town to be completely masterplanned, demolished, reconfigured and rebuilt,' says Simon Russian, head of development, Bracknell for Legal & General Investment Management, Real Assets (LGIM RA).
The development features a vibrant mix of brands and experiences providing a new social and cultural heart for Bracknell, offering soft green landscaped spaces for entertainment and events, and a high quality mix of shops and leisure venues connected in a pedestrian-friendly environment. There are six blocks that constitute the Northern Retail Quarter. The scheme comprises two department stores, retail units, restaurants and cafes, 10 screen cinema, multi storey car park and 92 apartments defining a series of new covered and open streets and civic squares as part of the 60,000 sqm scheme town centre regeneration.
The project utilises a rich warm palette of materials including brick, timber, feature perforated aluminium, coloured glazing, gold/silver coloured copper cladding and green walls along with elegant street covers and canopies. A key concept for the scheme and public realm design has been ‘the greening of Bracknell’ to transform the character of the existing town. BDP had already completed a Waitrose supermarket in 2011, which forms one of the anchors for the scheme.
The brief for BDP – lead consultant, architecture, lighting – was to create a vibrant modern retail, social and cultural hub for Bracknell while incorporating the values important to Bracknell Forest. It needed to be an inclusive and accessible town centre for everyone.
Chapman Taylor planned and designed one of the two key components of the plan, Charles Square – connecting the brand new ‘Northern Quarter’ to the existing Princess Square Centre. In addition, Chapman Taylor was the delivery architect for the whole scheme.
The 53,883 sq m development has attracted an impressive list of brands, including Fenwick, Joules, Fat Face, Superdry, Office, Next, H&M, River Island, Timberland, Seasalt, Paperchase, KIKO Milano, The Body Shop, Beauty Base, Topshop, Pandora, Marks & Spencer and Primark. Other high street names to join the line-up include Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse, Moss Bros, Vision Express, Footlocker, Smiggle, Flying Tiger Copenhagen, Boots, Ernest Jones, Beaverbrooks and L’Occitane.
The town centre’s evening offer will be transformed with the opening of a 12-screen Cineworld, featuring the only 4DX screen in the Thames Valley, and 10 casual dining restaurants, such as Nando’s, wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Carluccio’s. The Bull public house, a celebrated Grade II listed part of the borough’s heritage, has been restored and extended and will be used by Young’s for its first site in Berkshire.
The remainder of the town centre regeneration includes one of the largest green walls in Europe, plus the refurbishment of existing shop facades, major public realm improvements, some 3,800 spaces in new or renovated car parks and significant highway upgrades to the local network, together with improvements to the key gateways into the town.
'Bracknell has a focus now that matches its influence and aspirations. For too long, the town centre underserved the local community but that has now changed with an exciting new scheme,' says Simon Russian.