The Michael Young Building
Location: Milton Keynes
Date: 1999 - 2001
Client: The Open University
The new building for the Open University Business School emerges out of the surrounding medieval ridge and furrow landscape. Wildflower seeds were harvested from the field and grown on as wildflower plugs for replanting. Ironstone sourced as overburden from a local quarry forms drainage swales that reference the historical drainage pattern of the site and pollarded willow trees allude to the management of wetlands and the generation of biomass. The topsoil and wildflower seeds were harvested during construction to be reused in the courtyards.
Awards:
Commended at the 2003 Civic Trust awards, achieved BREEAM Excellent
The seasonal variations of the site were reinterpreted to create a dynamic landscape setting for the Open University Business School.

The buttercup meadow flourishes each summer creating a rich and diverse backdrop. Over 30 native wildflower and grass species were carefully reintroduced. The rhythm of the underlying medieval ridge and furrow landscape was further abstracted to create a system of surface drainage and water attenuation reservoirs.

The project was awarded the highest rating of ‘Excellent’ by the Building Research Establishment Assessment Method (BREEAM) relating to the environmental impact of new developments. Project Architects, Jestico + Whiles.
Credits:
Architect: Jestico + Whiles
Structural Engineer: Anthony Hunt and Partners
Civil Engineer: Anthony Hunt and Partners
Soil consultant: Tim O'Hare Associates
Project Manager: Malcolm Reading Consultants
Main Contractor: Sisk
Soft Landscape Contractors: Whitings Landscapes

Photography: © Sarah Blee and J & L Gibbons