Case study

Derby wowed by our students’ designs for city centre

Who fancies a look into the future? How about a Derby city centre with a stunning mix of vibrant new buildings set against the classic architecture of the past?

That’s what students on our architectural design courses have come up with in response to a challenge set by Marketing Derby. And their designs have received a great response from the people of Derby.

Our students were challenged by Marketing Derby to come up with ideas on how to regenerate Derby city centre. Now their designs for redeveloping the area around the Market Place have been shared online by Derbyshire Live.

And the news website’s readers say the designs are “great”, “superb”, “fantastic”, "imaginative" and "brilliant", with one even going on to say it was “time Derby had some vision, let these students take it over".

Take a look

Some of our students' designs involved redeveloping existing buildings in Derby city centre in exciting ways. Others saw stunning new structures proposed for landmark sites around the Market Place.

Matt Davies came up with ideas for extensive redevelopment of the Market Hall, inside and out, with a sleek modern interior and innovative grassed areas outside to complement the green copper roof on the Victorian gem.

Matt Davies's design for Derby Market Hall interior
Matt Davies's design for Derby Market Hall extension
Matt Davies's design for Derby Market Hall frontage

Nicholas Ledden’s design for a replacement for the Assembly Rooms in Derby Market Place is for an all-glass building that would be illuminated at night and have a large auditorium space.

Nicholas Ledden's Assembly Rooms auditorium
Nicholas Ledden's Assembly Rooms design
Nicholas Ledden's design for the Assembly Rooms lit up at night

This design by Adam Watkins for the Market Hall involves transforming it into a multi-purpose venue able to stage concerts.

Adam Watkins's Market Hall extension interior
Adam Watkins's Market Hall exterior
Adam Watkins's Market Hall concert venue

Jess Moore created a design concept that flows from the Market Place and Full Street, through the Sadler Square area that sits between Sadler Gate and St Mary’s Gate, all the way to Cheapside.

Jess Moore's Derby city centre plan
Jess Moore's design for a Derby city centre building

This intriguing design by Hallum Herbert is for an external extension to the Market Hall and the creation of interior leisure space.

Hallum Herbert's Market Hall interior
Hallum Herbert's Market Hall extension

Scott Glossop has come up with this futuristic design to replace the Assembly Rooms building, with a garden piazza on the site of the currently Assembly Rooms car park.

Scott Glossop's Market Place design interior
Scott Glossop's Market Place design

Derby’s reaction

These were some of the views of the readers of the Derbyshire Live site.

“I'm from Derby and visit the city centre on a frequent basis and would be both excited and proud for Derby city centre and Market Place to look like this. I'd probably visit more often. For University students to come up with this design which incorporates both modern and the existing traditional is superb. At the end of the day, it shows much ambition and I hope these students go on to do more work for the city centre and region.” AdamH 

“About time Derby started to be a bit futuristic. Looks fantastic.” Pete Castle

“So when do they start? Would be proud to say I live in Derby if it looked like that.” Mikeymoo

“I think we should let these students take over all the planning in Derby then we might get some vision and buildings to be proud of and to rival other cities. Time Derby had some vision, let these students take it over.” Shimmy1

Adam Watkins's Market Hall aerial view
Adam Watkins's design for Derby Market Hall

“Great idea. Let’s copy the great markets of abroad by incorporating stalls selling produce with restaurants and vendors. I like the illuminated Assembly Rooms - looks good - and the curved building.” Adthebad

“I think they look brilliant. Other cities have modern futuristic architecture like that so why can’t Derby.” Chadram

“Wow, that looks nice.” MyDerby

The design brief

The students were tasked with responding to two development briefs – to redevelop Sadler Square and Derby’s Market Place.

Dr Boris Ceranic, Lecturer in Built Environment at the University of Derby, explains: “These two important city centre sites are inextricably linked, both historically and physically. Our students had to consider the opportunity areas of the two sites, as well as the surrounding areas, urban design principles and the development potential of the sites.

 “I was very impressed by the creativity and vision of our students – they produced some outstanding proposals which were both future-focused but sympathetic to the city’s historic context and current environment.”

Derby Guildhall in the Market Place
Derby Market Place as it is now, with the Guildhall and the Market Hall sitting behind it

The students’ work was showcased at Marketing Derby’s Derby Property Summit, which gave them a real platform to demonstrate their talent and meet senior industry professionals

Marketing Derby’s Tom Erskine said: "Marketing Derby works with the University of Derby every year, looking at key sites across the city centre that would benefit from regeneration. It's fantastic to participate in this collaboration which sees impressive ideas and schemes come forward. A huge amount of effort goes into the work by the students and it's a pleasure for us to give some of the students the opportunity to showcase their work at the Derby Property Summit.”