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Design excellence

This residential development creates high quality and relatively high density living, without conventional private gardens on a large urban infill in the centre of Cambridge. The development has been fitted densely into a site which formerly housed government offices and prefabricated WWII buildings. A masterplan was developed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects, which took account of the restrictive covenants and planning restraints limiting housing numbers.

The new development comprises of 378 dwellings of which 30% are affordable. There is a mixture of apartments and houses ranging from one bed affordable flats, to luxurious 5 bed courtyard villas. The use of a common local style brick creates coherence across the different dwelling types and tenures.

A clear regulating concept of heights and massing, allowed individual architects to develop their schemes, using a mix of high quality materials and forms. With relatively shallow plot depths, private outdoor space is created through courtyards and terraces. The dwellings are adaptable, easily being converted to Lifetime Homes Standards, and within larger houses ‘live/work’ activities can be accommodated in rooms above garages, while moveable partitions allow for more flexible spaces.  

The development is sensitive to the surrounding neighbourhood, and offers a strong green structure with an open, legible road layout. Walking and cycling are well supported with a permeable layout of footpaths and cycleways. A key feature of the development is a central avenue, Aberdeen Avenue, following a line of ancient trees. Mews Streets are at right angles to the avenue creating a strong grid structure, therefore increasing legibility.

Attention to construction details and insulation means performance is good, allowing for the effective integration of renewable energy technologies in the future. High thermal mass provides cooler dwellings in summer and flat ‘living roofs’ are sedum planted for high insulation and run off management.

This development has won a number of awards including becoming the first housing scheme to win the Stirling Prize in 2008.


Project team:

Client - Countryside Properties Plc

Architects - Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects, Maccreanor Lavington, Alison Brooks Architects