Milton Keynes Shopping Centre

Milton Keynes Development Corporation, Milton Keynes, 1979


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Entrance to long arcade 

Martin Charles and Richard Davies     Download Original

  • Entrance to long arcade    
  • Eastern half of building viewed from raised road which crosses the building. In foreground is the twice weekly market    
  • Stepped pyramidal north-east elevation recalls both Classical pediment and Art Deco    
  • Eastern half of building viewed from raised road    
  • Spread along the ridge, the south east elevation s seen from a pedestrian footbridge crossing Childs Way. The building will slowly disappear from the distant view behind trees and further buildings    
  • The garden court from the northern arcade    
  • The tall, long and airy, landscaped northern arcade    
  • Garden Court    
  • Garden Court viewed from its northern corner    
  • Midsummer Boulevard on the south of shopping centre. Porte cocheres shelter and define pedestrian crossings without zebra stripes or flashing lights    
  • Portion of internal elevation of southern arcade; on left is a pub; on right and outside the market. Above ground floor the pub is clad in reflective glass and above that is the clear glass clerestory    
  • View down short cross mall. Through of identical width to the long malls they are low, without direct natural light and projecting signs are permitted    
  • Shopfitting varies from the bland and familiar house style of the national chains such as Woolworths....    
  • ...and Boots...    
  • ...and castellated kitsch    
  • Development plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Roof plan    
  • Section    
  • South east elevation    
  • Part section    
  • Map of Milton Keynes in the early 1980s    
  • Detail section roof down to grille above shopfitting    

Glass-covered shopping centre built to accommodate 130 shops and six department stores, arranged down two parallel daylit arcades

The building has a number of features uncommon in large scale shopping centres. All of the retail spaces are accessed from the ground level, creating an extended arcade. At the time of construction the building was the longest shopping centre in the world.

A service road runs above the centre, so that service lorries access shops at roof level, removing the service roads and loading bays from ground level, out of view of the shoppers.

Many of the early designs for buildings in the new town were strongly modernist and the design of the new shopping centre was seen as an opportunity to modernize, incorporating a High Tech style into a minimalist ideal.


  • Begun: Apr 1975
  • Completed: Apr 1979
  • Floor area: 133,416m2
  • Sectors: Retail, Public realm
  • Total cost: £23.9M
  • Tender date: Jan 1974
  • Procurement: Fluctuating JCT Clause 31A with two-stage tender
  • Address: thecentre:mk, 24 Silbury Arcade, Milton Keynes, MK9 3ES, United Kingdom

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