Bicester Heritage New Technical Site Oxfordshire

Ridge designed the first new build development within the historic setting of the former RAF Bicester Station.

Bicester Heritage Centre is an award-winning, multi-use site showcasing historic automobiles in a leisure setting.

Ridge worked with the client to develop and execute a masterplan for the site, the historic former RAF station set on 348 acres. Core to the plan was to develop the space as a destination for car enthusiasts, showcasing, restoring, and trading historic vehicles while also providing museum, leisure, and dining facilities. Once the masterplan, branding, and vision for the extensive heritage scheme were complete, Ridge also worked to deliver individual projects.

A conservation area in its entirety, with a wealth of history and a plethora of heritage assets, the site-wide regeneration framework was produced looking towards an exciting and sustainable future as a national destination for leisure and skills, automotive innovation and technology, exhibitions, cultural events and experience centres.

Design development included extensive design exercises in order to deliver a proposal that would satisfy the planning authorities, without sacrificing the commercial viability for the client. The development is a contemporary interpretation of the existing 20’s and 30’s buildings. The language of the new site combines and merges the formal layout and rational programme of the existing structures with the fluidity and flexibility of modern buildings. Therefore, the architecture is complementary, drawing inspiration and borrowing certain elements from the existing original buildings without mimicking them.

Embracing the historic RAF site location, full use was made of existing structures, which include listed buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments. These comprise a rich mix of both materials and scale: from a brickwork transport shed and concrete defence structures, to a watch tower and Type A & C hangars.

Completed attractions include, but are not limited to, car exhibitions and museum, hotel, spa and wellness centre, restaurants and cafés, conference centre, 1000-seat theatre, adventure park, and driving experience tracks. The eight new buildings provide a total building area of 6,500sqm with facilities for offices, workshops, showroom and storage.

  • 6,500sqm of development

    Project size

  • 8

    New buildings in conservation area

  • 348

    Acre site

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