Capability Brown Design Competition winners crowned

30.11.2015 | category: General
  • Jo Phillips and Owen Byrom, Manchester Metropolitan University. © Karen Hatch Photography

  • Leopold Taylor and Naomi Rubbra, Edinburgh College of Arts. © Karen Hatch Photography

  • Matthew Wigan and Will Brealey, Matthew Wigan Associates. © Karen Hatch Photography

  • Jen Neal and Chris Carter, Colvin and Moggridge Landscape Architects. , Jen Neal and Chris Carter, Colvin and Moggridge Landscape Architects

Two sets of students and two firms have been crowned as the winners of the Capability Brown Design Competition, which aimed to find a new design for part of Moccas Park in Hereford.

The competition was hosted by Natural England, and managed by the Landscape Institute. It aimed to attract contemporary design ideas inspired by Capability Brown’s work and practice, along with thought-provoking ideas about how to engage people with Brown and his landscapes.

The winners were announced at the Landscape Institute awards in London last week, with prizes awarded in two categories: student and open entry. The awards were given out by Guy Thompson, Natural England's Chief Operating Officer, and Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE. 

Students Jo Phillips and Owen Byrom from Manchester Metropolitan University were recognised for their submission, called Moccas Skyscape. The awards judging panel described it as a ‘striking concept’ that ‘connects people with trees and the sky.’ They shared the top honours with Leopold Taylor and Naomi Rubbra, from Edinburgh College of Art. Judges said their entry, Moccas Hill Wood: the contemporary Brown? was ‘an enchanting masterplan.’

In the professional category, the top prize was shared between Matthew Wigan Associates and Colvin and Moggridge Landscape Architects. Judges commended both entries for their detailed analysis of the site, as well as their practical design ideas.

Natural England’s Leslie Pearman, Senior Advisor Heritage Estates, said: “Congratulations to all of the winners. The winning design ideas give Natural England a clear picture of how to extend the ancient tree habitat of the medieval deer park, making the best of the fabulous views and historic and archaeological features in a way that will inspire people to enjoy the site for a further 300 years.”

Brown consulted on plans for intended alterations at Moccas in 1778, commissioned by Sir George Cornewall. It is believed his plans for the site were partially executed.

Natural England will be using the winning design ideas to finalise how the competition site will be laid out when it is restored to parkland, and to expand Moccas NNR. This work will start with the planting of new trees in spring 2016.

As well as the winners, three designs were highly commended by the judges. These were submitted by Harrie Carr, Emma Henderson, Emma Thompson and Kit Bowen from Edinburgh College of Art; Anne-Charlotte Lee from ACL Paysages; and Matt Machouki from Leeds Beckett University.