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CAMBRIDGE ARCHITECTURE Cambridge Association of Architects Gazette

AUTUMN/WINTER 2017 CAMBRIDGE ASSOCIATION OF ARCHITECTS GAZETTE

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WELCOME

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CONTENTS _4 NEWS

_7 UNIVERSITY PROCUREMENT

What role has Cambridge University played in the expansion of the city?

_ 10 CAA BUILDING VISITS

Two reports from recent building visits organised by the CAA: 51 Hills Road and Great Kneighton's Aura development

_ 13 DESIGNED IN CAMBRIDGE

How Cambridge inspires local companies and influences others beyond its boundaries

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_ 20 CAMBRIDGE REVISITED

It’s 30 years since St John’s Innovation Centre heralded a new concept for small businesses

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DEPARTMENT NEWS

What’s happening at Scroope Terrace and what the benefits are of joining ARCSOC

_ 24 STUDENT AWARDS 2017

Two Department of Architecture students win CAA and RIBA awards

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Cover photo: Swirles Court post-graduate housing at the North West Cambridge Development by R H Partnership.© Richard Fraser Photography

BUILDING COMMUNITIES

Three very different articles that consider communities in the City of Cambridge

_ 32 SATISFACTION GUARANTEED?

What do clients really think of their architects? We revisit the RIBA report

_ 35 RIBA EAST AWARDS 2017

Ambitious, thought-provoking, innovative designs that give pride in our profession

_ 45 KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD

How driverless tech could change our lives

_ 46 WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON?

WELCOME

CA74 is all about being ‘Designed In Cambridge’. In this issue, we explore the many and varied design disciplines in the region: design professionals, key trades, craftsmen and designers across the industry, including those who procure the projects that have been changing the face of the city and beyond. Following on from our anniversary special, we return to our regular columns, and include the first of a two-part article about the University of Cambridge, arguably one of the driving forces of development in the city. Broadening our horizons, we take a look at projects from across the East of England led by practices and professionals based in the Cambridgeshire area as part of the RIBA East Awards.

A round-up of ongoing projects by local firms

– The Editors CAMBRIDGE ASSOCIATION OF ARCHITECTS GAZETTE | 3

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NEWS

THE CAA THANKS THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS

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NEWS

• 5th Studio • Allies and Morrison • A  C Architects Cambridge Ltd • A  shley Courtney RIBA AABC  arber Casanovas Ruffles Ltd • B • Barry Sharman Ltd • bb+c Architects Ltd • Colen Lumley RIBA • Cowper Griffith Architects • D  altonMuscat Architects llp • E IKON Architecture and Design Ltd • George Davidson Architect • Goose Architects Ltd • G  raham Handley Architects • Karen Rainsford Architect • M Reynolds RIBA • Mart Barrass Architect Ltd • Mole Architects • N J Twitchett • NP Architects • P  eter Rawlings Architects Ltd • Project 5 Architecture  H Partnership Architects Ltd • R • Raydan Watkins Architects • studio24 architects • Tristan Rees Roberts • Verve Architects Ltd

CAMBRIDGE ARCHITECTURE GAZETTE

Cambridge Architecture Gazette is a review produced by the Cambridge Association of Architects, the local chapter of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The views in this magazine are those of individual contributors (named and unnamed), and not of the Association. ISSN 1361-3375 Any comments or for a copy of the magazine, contact editors@cambridgearchitects.org

AND EVENTS

Cambridge Association of Architects Gazette News

ASTRAZENECA HQ CONSTRUCTION GATHERS PACE © Karen Adams

The new R&D headquarters building for AstraZeneca continues to take shape on the Cambridge BioMedical Campus. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron architects, delivered by multidisciplinary design practice BDP, and constructed by Skanska, the bold exterior of the main building is being speedily covered by the angular glass facade. Completion is expected in 2018.

CAA SUPPORTING 1ST YEAR STUDENTS The CAA is supporting the 1st year students in their building project following previous years successes. The project will be complete on 27th November, in the grounds of Queens College, featuring a series of inhabited spaces to explore and consider.

CAA & RIBA EAST TOUR AURA

NEW HEAD OF ARCHITECTURE DEPT

The CAA & RIBA East organised a talk and tour of the AURA development on 26 September 2017. Designed by Tate Hindle Architects for Countryside Properties, the current phase of the development near Long Road is now almost complete.

EDITORS David Adams, Tom Foggin, Susie Lober ADVERTISEMENT SALES Marie Luise CritchleyWaring (advertising@cambridgearchitects.org) Published by Bright Publishing. www.bright-publishing.com

Francois Penz, longtime scholar at the University of Cambridge Architecture Department, has taken over as Head of Department from Professor Wendy Pullan.

CA74 WAS SUPPORTED BY THE KIND DONATIONS FROM: To find out how to support the production of the Cambridge Architecture gazette through advertising and other opportunities, please contact Marie Luise Critchley-Waring at fundraising@cambridgearchitects. org. The CAA gratefully welcomes sponsorship of its annual activities. For more information please contact treasurer@cambridgearchitects.org

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NEWS

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MOLE ARCHITECTS AND REBECCA GRANGER WIN STEPHEN LAWRENCE PRIZE 2017

© Rory Gardiner

The Houseboat, a project in Dorset by Cambridge based Mole Architects together with Dorset based architect Rebecca Granger, has won the Stephen Lawrence Prize 2017. The prize is awarded nationally to the best project with a construction budget of less than £1million. This year it was presented by Marco Goldschmeid at the RIBA’s awards ceremony at The Roundhouse, London on Tuesday 31st October.

UPCOMING EVENTS For more details, see wwwcfci.org.uk

ARCSOC LECTURE

Tuesday 14th November, 6:30pm Reinier de Graaf from OMA at Dept of Architecture, Scroope Terrace, Cambridge CB2 1PX

CFCI SITE VISIT

Wednesday 15 November. Site visit to the Cambridge Judge Business School expansion project.

CFCI LECTURE

Monday 27 November, 6.30pm. The Farmer Review on the future of construction: Modernise or Die.

© David Adams

CAA CHRISTMAS SOCIAL:

From 6.30pm, Tuesday 5th December The Old Bicycle Shop, 104 Regent St Cambridge, CB2 1DP

MARTIN CENTRE 50TH ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE

13-14th December £50 per day, workshops and seminars Kings College Cambridge & Scroope Terrace martincentreadmin@aha.cam. ac.uk to register.

CAMBRIDGE NORTH UP AND RUNNING The new railway station, Cambridge North, opened in May 2017, shortly after CA73 went to press. The response to the station has been very positive, and the project should usher in a new era of development for the north of the city and it is hoped, take some of the pressure off journeys through the city centre.

THE CAA MAKES NEW FRIENDS Vice Chair of the Sussex branch, Caroline Stephens, paid a visit to the CAA’s September meeting, in advance of the ‘Hackathon’ organised by Hilson Moran, at Brookgates office near Cambridge station. It was a great opportunity for the two branches to swap ideas and explore future collaboration opportunities – and will hopefully be repeated in future!

PRESIDENT OF THE RIBA EXPLORES CAMBRIDGE WITH THE CAA Ben Derbyshire, the new President of the RIBA, paid a visit to Cambridge on 8 November, touring some of the major developments of the area and meeting with students from Cambridge University Department of Architecture as well as its new head, Professor Francois Penz, who took over from Professor Wendy Pullan in October.

EDDINGTON OPENS ITS DOORS The first phase of the North West Cambridge Development, Eddington, opened its doors to residents in September. Masterplanned by AECOM, it features designs from several local practices (including R H Partnership, Mecanoo, and Mole Architects), the new development utilises a striking palette of materials as well as locally contextual brick details.

IN MEMORIAM The CAA is sad to report the passing of David Marks, co-founder and Managing Director of Marks Barfield Architects on 6 October 2017 at age 64. Marks Barfield were and remain involved in numerous Cambridge projects. He is survived by his wife (and co-founder of Marks Barfield) and their three children.

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UNIVERSITY PROCUREMENT

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FURTHERING EDUCATION

Cambridge University is one of the driving forces of both the City of Cambridge‘s local economy and, increasingly, its construction industry. It is a major employer in the region, as well as being one of the premier educational establishments in the world. In a two-part special, Cambridge Architecture Gazette explores the University‘s role in the expansion of the city WORDS DAVID ADAMS

Green Spaces © North West Cambridge Development

The development of major sites in and around Cambridge by the University has not, it is safe to say, gone unnoticed, either by the inhabitants of the city or within the architectural world. With the first phase of the North West Cambridge Development, Eddington accepting its first inhabitants, and the West Cambridge development firmly in progress, the scale of change that Cambridge itself is facing as the extents of the city expand north and west becomes clear. Cambridge Architecture has long been curious about the nature of procurement of University projects, and earlier this year it made contact with David Adamson, former Director of Estates for Cambridge University, to consider how the University arrived at

some of its key decisions. Given the scale of the subject, the gazette decided to run a two-part article, with the final part in the next edition. This issue focuses on some of the key decisions of the last 20 or so years, and the type of questions the University was asking itself at the outset of its current phase of expansion. The next edition will look in detail at the largest expansion in the University‘s history, looking at the way in which the University is developing its strategy, long term vision and aspirations, and the management structure underpinning it. The expansion of the University is, much like that of the city itself, a local phenomenon with national and international implications,

The expansion of the University is, much like that of the city itself, a local phenomenon with national implications and one that continues to propel Cambridge forward into the future, with all the challenges that brings to infrastructure, character, and culture. David Adamson looks back to where it all began. David Adams, Co-Editor

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NEW THINKING WORDS DAVID DAVID ADAMSON

During a wet weekend in December 1999 the senior management team of the University of Cambridge – the Vice Chancellor and the two pro VCs, with the Director of Estates and other heads of the administration – decided that it would plan more specifically how much expansion there should be in its teaching and research. It was decided to nearly freeze undergraduate student numbers but hugely expand the post-doctoral research/ teaching staff by 9-11% annually and graduate student numbers by 2.5%. By 2001, Cambridge University annual capital expenditure, apart from what was being spent by colleges, had risen to £214 million, and by 2003, to £636 million. Meanwhile, the net built-up area grew from 499,000m2 in 1996, to 662,000m2 in 2006. This unprecedented expansion came at the time of the greatest changes in procurement for the industry: 90% of Government construction projects were then going at least 10% over budget, and 10% at least 90% over, so there had to be fundamental changes. In Cambridge there was a shift from opting for cheapest initial capital cost towards whole-life performance, and from national ‘Starchitects’ to more local architects with clear ability to concentrate on whole-life performance. It worked well. Secondly, a collaborative ‘Develop and Construct’ form of procurement and ECC contracts were adopted. Contractors were now brought into the procurement team on a fee basis once outline design and planning permission had been obtained. Design-build, with its greater risks of design-drift and contractual claims, was avoided. Post-occupancy reports were made universal and openly available. The practice of ‘Soft-landings’, invented for the new building for Computer Science at West Cambridge, later picked up in the 2013 RIBA

Aerial View of North West Cambridge Development © NWCD

Plan of Work (and in an increasing number of other countries) helped designers to feel more committed to whole-life performance of buildings and to better relationships between architects, clients and building users, resulting in increased longer-term teamwork. When Government Minister Nick Raynsford visited that project and asked the contractor‘s site manager what he thought of “these new-fangled ways of procurement”, the answer was “I knew more about this project when I started than I’ve known about many projects when they finished”. That was among the many building projects that won awards from the RIBA and other commendations in the first decade of the new millennium. To achieve through-life quality in design, all appointments of designers and

constructors were made on the basis of balancing assessed quality and tendered price. In 1998 the University Buildings Committee (which included five leading members of the British construction industry, one a RIBA vice-president) set out desired outcomes in order of priority when selecting architects and other designers. 1. More and better space for the users of the building. 2. A more stimulating, efficient and pleasant environment for building users and neighbours. 3. E  nhancement of the environment, the University‘s prestige and success, and Cambridge itself. 4. The oportunity to enhance the prestige of all involved in the programme and to afford them professional satisfaction.

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UNIVERSITY PROCUREMENT

© Richard Fraser

There was a shift from opting for cheapest initial capital cost towards whole-life performance Overall, the University set out to achieve a more cohesive style of architecture on its various sites, especially for the ‘architectural zoo’ on Sidgwick Avenue; an Allies and Morrison masterplan. Few striking iconic University estate buildings were put up in that period but has this led to significant criticism? Probably not. President of the RIBA 2007–9, Sunand

Prasad, commented that “the University of Cambridge brought a rigorous and entirely fresh approach to procurement, combining the Latham and Egan [reform] agendas with the belief in design quality. Cambridge University buildings over the last couple of decades generally are exemplary of their type, both in design and construction”. Between 1998 and 2006, the University procured over 100 major projects at a cost of £760 million within 0.1% of set budgets and without any recourse to legal action. So, what lessons were learned? The form of procurement, develop and construct, proved more successful in terms of building efficiency. Unit capital and running costs were generally reduced so that more buildings got built. However, projects of that time could have done more to open

up University sites to the public. That changed when planning started in 1999 for the North West Cambridge, Eddington development: there would be public spaces and amenities in place early. It was promised in the masterplan presented for the Cambridge Local Plan in 2005, and current development is very similar to that, albeit with different forms of procurement and capital governance. The most significant aspect for the estate of the University during that time, however, was the unopposed removal of North West Cambridge from the Green Belt for sustainable development. Time will tell whether or not future generations will bless us for that. David Adamson HonFRIBA, Vis Prof UCL, was Director of Estates (1998 - 2005)

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CAA BUILDING VISITS

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The tour of 51 Hills Road © CAA

BUILDING VISIT:

51 HILLS ROAD The CAA recent visit to Gort Scott’s Hills Road office building for Jesus College was highly successful and well attended, despite a torrential downpour. Gort Scott was joined by Max Fordham engineers, and explained how the project was created. Carl Rowland looks back on an evening in Cambridge’s greenest office building WORDS CARL ROWLAND, GRAHAM HANDLEY ARCHITECTS

On a showery evening in July, the CAA was pleased to host a RIBA event visiting 51 Hills Road, Cambridge. More than 40 RIBA members and their guests attended, from throughout the region. The client for the project was Jesus

College and the building was designed by Gort Scott, a practice founded by Jay Gort and Fiona Scott in 2007 after meeting at Cambridge University. It has quickly become a leading young architectural practice known for its expertise in working

© David Adams

© Carl Rowland

within the complex urban environment. The building has scooped up many national awards, including one from RIBA in 2016, as well as Civic Trust, RICS East of England Commercial, BCO and Brick awards. The event was introduced by David Adams, the Chair of CAA, after which Jay gave a presentation describing the background to the project, and an analysis of the design process leading to the final scheme. The presentation was both insightful and entertaining, and added significantly to the enjoyment and value of the following tour of the building. Dodging the showers, Jay and Susie Hyden, the project architect, lead two groups on tours of the building. During the tours, they expanded on the design philosophy of the scheme and problems overcome during the construction phase. The tour culminated in a drinks reception on the top floor, expertly organised by the CAA, allowing further discussion about the building while enjoying views along Hills

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High-quality stone and brick finishes were retained, along with the strength of the design

View of 51 Hills Road © David Grandorge

51 Hills Road, south approach © David Grandorge

Road and beyond. The presentation highlighted the building’s credentials as the ‘greenest’ office building in Cambridge, achieving BREEAM Excellent rating. Particularly evident throughout the office was the careful consideration of natural light illuminating the spaces, natural ventilation measures and exposed in situ concrete providing thermal mass to reduce the consumption of energy. Despite commercial pressures during the construction stage, high-quality stone and brick finishes were retained, along with the strength of the design concept to produce a robust contribution to the surrounding area and a lasting asset to the College, currently occupied by estate agents Tucker Gardner.

AURA

The new Aura project lived up to its name, giving a positive vibe at a CAA talks and tour event On 26 September, RIBA East and the CAA introduced presentations on the new Aura development in Great Kneighton, between Trumpington and Addenbrookes. Designed by architects TateHindle, developed by Countryside Properties, and approved by the Joint Planning Service for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Council, the event was held in the new modern Trumpington Community College, itself the topic of some discussion. The latest development at awardwinning Great Kneighton, Aura delivers 229 homes over 5.2ha and forms part of the masterplan to develop 2,300 new homes for Countryside Properties. The aim is to create a new ‘garden suburb’ within Cambridge’s Southern Fringe. Introduced by David Adams, Chair of the CAA, the talks began with a presentation by Mike Jamieson, Design Director for TateHindle, architects of one of the first character areas. Jonathan Brookes, Principal Urban Designer for Cambridge City Council’s joint planning team, explained the planning engagement throughout the design period of the development, and the regulatory framework underpinning it. Jonathan Gimblett (Associate Director (Land and Planning) New Homes and Communities for Central Countryside Properties) presented the masterplan from a developer’s point of view. What was evident from all the talks

Jonathan Gimblett outlines the masterplan © CAA

Trumpington Community College © CAA

was the impressive level of engagement, collaboration and understanding of the participants. The reaction of the audience seemed to agree with this, and comments both on the tour and afterwards were refreshingly complimentary. The 45-minute tour showed the level of effort taken with the development. Stephen Kelly, Director of the Joint Planning Service, closed the proceedings, with the presenters fielding questions from the audience. The CAA thanks each of the presenters, Rumina Haji-White of TateHindle, RIBA East, Trumpington Community College (including caretaker Charlie), for their contributions and support that helped make the evening a success.

Jonathan Brookes talks through the planning process © CAA

Architects tour the development © CAA

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DESIGNED IN CAMBRIDGE

DESIGNED Design is a theme at the heart of this issue of Cambridge Architecture, and it covers a wealth of disciplines – from ancient crafts such as stonemasonry, to translating an energy-saving formula into a useful design tool. Meet some of the people and companies at the cutting edge WORDS DAVID ADAMS

In previous editions of the gazette, Cambridge Architecture has tended to focus on projects in and around Cambridge itself, often designed by those that live and work locally. But the city is a curious place: it spreads its influence far and wide, in part due to the presence of the University, and in part due to the type of technologies and industries it attracts.

In considering those industries (and the selection featured in the following pages merely scratch the surface), it is clear that Cambridge crosses many boundaries: projects across the world; various typologies; and crafts as old as the hills, or so new that the formulae for success is still being refined. The focus of this feature is not simply about projects completed in Cambridge, but those which influence others – the ways in which the city inspires design and detail wherever the designer may be. In addition to asking local architects how Cambridge may have influenced their design process, we looked at things like craftsmanship with Hibbitt Masonry; innovation and creativity in sustainable design with Max Fordham; the modern landscape with Allen Pyke Associates; and the work and ethos of Graham Handley Architects and Purcell.

One recurring theme is that Cambridge leaves a lasting impression of its essential character in the mind, pleasing aspects of which often becoming part of designs based elsewhere. Another theme is that the strength of the Cambridge character consistently surprises. Two Stirling Prize winners, innumerable awards, and a local powerhouse of high technology, education, medicine and pharmaceutical research are pushing Cambridge a long way beyond a similarly sized rural town or city. As always, the challenge for any designer, planner or decision maker for Cambridge, is to safeguard its personality, and to nurture and encourage that character through high quality, considerate, sustainable, and thoughtful design that will help form the city’s future. It’s quite a challenge.

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SHAPING THE STONE AGE Integrating nine generations worth of stonemasonry skill and knowledge with cutting-edge machine technology is a fine balance, but when it’s achieved the end results can be stunning. Cambridge Architecture took a walk through the workshops of Hibbitt Masonry to see craftsmanship in action WORDS THE DIRECTORS

Hibbitt Masonry has been located in Chesterton, Cambridge for all of its 127 years and in many ways is part of a highly traditional industry, but it has found the perfect combination of technology and craft. Paul Hibbitt noted made the decision to invest in new employees, training, and cutting-edge 5 and 6 axis machinery, in part to safeguard the jobs of the company’s long serving, directly employed workforce. Hibbitt Masonry continues to explore the limits of current technology, using it to speed up the drawing and translation processes into production, where these new technologies have proved highly beneficial. Paul noted that the older, longer serving staff, although a little apprehensive at the start, have fully embraced the change and enjoyed the re-training and learning process. An example of this can be seen on a project that is currently coming to an end in Bedfordshire. Here, the outer order of tracery on the East window was in a highly unstable state. Paul explains: “We were commissioned to cut the old stone back to glass then make new stone tracery, and match the in-situ glass and internal stonework. We digitised the on-site rubbings to allow us to manipulate the drawings to use with our CNC machines. The stone was left ‘full’ in key areas to allow it to be hand finished on site. It’s this

© Hibbitt Masonry

© Hibbitt Masonry

© Hibbitt Masonry

© Hibbitt Masonry

© Hibbitt Masonry

understanding and attention to detail that makes the difference between a good job and an excellent job.”

NEW COMMISSIONS AND DESIGN

Hibbitt and Sons was founded in 1890 by Albert Hibbitt, who specialised in monumental masonry, something the company is still highly regarded for. Evidence of this can be seen in Newmarket at the new National Horseracing Museum, ... where Hibbitt Masonry was commissioned to design, supply and install a stone plinth for the bronze casting of the Frankel statue. the museum collaborated in the production and the plinth was carved at the workshops in Victoria Road. The monument now stands as the centrepiece of the courtyard. Hibbitt Masonry has discovered that the new machinery and investment in high-end

© Hibbitt Masonry

software, people and training has opened up avenues into marketplaces it had previously not explored. The award-winning work on historic buildings will remain the company’s main passion, but having the added opportunity and capability to use traditional skills on new-build projects and challenging private commissions comes as a welcome advancement – and one that seems to put the company in a strong position for the future.

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© Grimshaw Architects

THINKING POWER

Internationally renowned sustainable engineers, Max Fordham’s work in central Cambridge has garnered publicity and awards in recent years. Cambridge Architecture asked Michael Baldwin to discuss its work in the city WORDS MICHAEL BALDWIN, MAX FORDHAM LLP

Max Fordham works closely alongside local institutions and practices, and continues the office ethos of energy efficiency, innovation and sustainable design. This has resulted in some high-profile successes, not least the Stirling Prize-winning Newport Street Gallery, Tate Modern Switch House, Wilton's Music Hall and, closer to home, 51 Hills Road (Cambridge’s greenest office building).

IT’S ALL ABOUT ENERGY: THE ENERGY COST METRIC

The built environment accounts for almost 40% of the UK’s total energy consumption. In particular in Cambridge, the University estate is a significant energy consumer. Building regulations and common assessment schemes (such as BREEAM) do contribute to reductions in building energy use. Crucially, however, they don’t identify the most cost-effective way to achieve the

biggest lifetime energy saving. Most conventional approaches focus on reducing carbon emissions rather than energy consumption, sometimes leading to more energy-intensive solutions, not the lowest energy or emission approach over the medium or long term. This becomes even more pertinent as the carbon intensity of the National Grid continues to fall (for more, see www.electricitymap.org). The Energy Cost Metric (ECM) was conceived by the late Sir David MacKay and championed by the Energy Group, academics from Cambridge University Engineering Department (CUED). It is a quantitative approach to achieving cost-effective energy savings over the lifetime of building energy use. Max Fordham’s role translated the formula behind the ECM into a usable design tool for real-world projects by focusing on each RIBA work stage.

2010 © Max Fordham

© Max Fordham

2050

© Max Fordham

The University’s Estate Management Department, an enlightened procurement body, has embraced it. Its first test has been in the new Civil Engineering Building and National Research Facility for Infrastructure Sensing, under construction at West Cambridge, and designed alongside Grimshaw Architects and Smith + Wallwork structural engineers. ECM has already influenced major design choices. Following detailed analysis, a key strategic decision was to accept slightly lower than best practice fabric performance and utilise the most efficient heating and cooling systems. Unlikely to have been found via regulatory calculations, it is a substantially lower energy, environmental strategy.

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MAKING A SCENE

Allen Pyke Associates is a Cambridge-based landscape architecture, urban design and environmental planning practice. Its sensitive and contextual approach is based around simple but effective principles. Technical Director Vincent Friedlander explains how it works WORDS & IMAGES ALLEN PYKE ASSOCIATES

Since setting up our second office in Cambridge 10 years ago we have worked on a number of projects in the city. These include extra-care projects with the City Council, residential, student accommodation and hotels. Being part of the city we cannot help but find inspiration from it. Typical to Cambridge are the windows into old college courtyards, comprising low brick walls with tall railings. We use this element for high density residential projects to provide active surveillance of streets, increasing light to courtyards, and to create interest and space.

of the site was formed around a meandering lane with a central runnel, while the valley was crossed by a bridge designed around existing trees. A feature square, inspired by the previous farmyard and agricultural typologies, informed the landscape detailing and the University departments’ inspired use of geologically diverse boulders and locally important plant species.

Great Eastern Quays

Aberystwyth University

Courtyard

Great Eastern Quays

Aberystwyth University

Grange Walk Block E

For our projects outside Cambridge, place and context always inform our design. At Aberystwyth University we were inspired by the sloping valley site overlooking the bay and linear hillside villages. A community hub with views to the sea formed a gateway. The east

Much of our work is for Housing Associations, which have a long-term commitment to their developments and value social aspects of design. A current 468 residential unit project at Great Eastern Quays in East London promotes positive social engagement with a waterfront park, shared surfaced lanes, squares, podium residents’ courtyards and upper level amenity and biodiverse roofs.

At Northamptonshire’s Oundle School we transformed a car-dominated, uninviting area between buildings into a vibrant series of connecting, recreational spaces. The vehicular drive was reconfigured to give pedestrian priority, with a shared, surfaced promenade linking the sports and residential campus to the main school buildings. Local stone was used in a contemporary design for a seating wall, to frame the boarding house courtyards and provide social space.

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LOOKING AHEAD

Purcell is ideally placed as a heritage specialist in Cambridge, with its rich history to preserve. But, explains Sally Humphries, it’s about far more than simply protecting the past: it’s about using that context to create the future as well Oundle School

Oundle School

Aberystwyth University

WORDS & IMAGES PURCELL

The best architecture is always contextual: it not only relates to its surroundings but to the people who experience it. In the historic core of Cambridge, we are surrounded by exceptional buildings, both historic and modern, which we can’t help but feel provides us with inspiration daily. Purcell is a firm of architects and heritage consultants, working with historic buildings both in the sense of traditional conservation and in producing modern additions in heritage contexts. We have been based in central Cambridge since 2011, after moving from the outskirts of town and, before that, from Ely. As heritage leaders in the field of architecture, the move put us directly within the historic environment that we all love and within a stone’s throw from some of our projects, such as New Court at St John’s which can be glimpsed from our office window. Not all of our work is in Cambridge: we A current refurbishment project going on at St John’s College, New Court

The vibrant atmosphere and historic environment of Cambridge, as seen from our office Aberystwyth University

Ultimately, the places we spend time in inform us both consciously and subconsciously. Cambridge provides a wealth of inspiration for our projects near and far.

Sketch proposals for our extension to Holy Trinity Church in central Cambridge

work in the surrounding region, as well as in London. Our approach with all our projects, whether in Cambridge or not, is to develop a bespoke solution based on the context and client aspirations. This could result in a more polite, traditional design where a modest appearance needs to be maintained or in an innovative, contemporary approach where the context allows for more diversity. A current example of the latter is our new extension to Holy Trinity Church, which, while using traditional stone as one of the key materials, also makes use of clean lines and copper cladding to set it apart from the historic church adjacent. Whatever we design, whether traditional or modern, the high architectural quality of Cambridge is such that we have to ensure our designs are timeless and to a very high standard, aiming for them to become part of the rich architectural legacy of the city.

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ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Images © Richard Chivers Photography | Chadwick Dryer Clarke studio

Chadwick Dryer Clarke studio

GLASS GLORIOUS GLASS Established 17 years ago‚ IDSystems produces innovative, trendsetting glazing solutions‚ which architects are employing in their high-spec designs in and around Cambridge

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Images © AvdW Photographic | Berkeley Homes

For a family business based in Norfolk, IDSystems has come an awfully long way over the last 17 years and today we are recognised as one of the market leaders for innovative glazing systems for residential properties and commercial projects. With Cambridge growing and developing right on our doorstep, it comes as no surprise that the city has played a major part in our expansion. As well as supplying commercial developers with high-quality German-made bifold doors, windows and glass roofs for flats and townhouses on the edge of Midsummer Common, we’ve also worked with a wide number of studios across the area on individually designed extensions‚ new builds and renovations across the city and into the towns and villages beyond. Speaking of the strong association with the city, IDSystems managing director Richard Hunter identified one reason why the city offered so many opportunities for the company: “What we see time and again around Cambridge is that real strength in the architectural practices. We have worked closely with a number of studios over the years and there seems to be such a strong culture for innovation and real attention to detail in design, much more so than in other cities of similar size in which we do business.” This culture aligns perfectly to the ethos at IDSystems‚ having been one of the first companies to bring highly engineered bifold

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doors to the UK market back in 2000. We followed this up with the launch of theEDGE‚ our trendsetting ultra-slim sliding door product that so perfectly suits the desire to connect inside and outside spaces and to breakdown the boundaries between a home and its surroundings. “We’ve worked with so many practices, from the likes of Chadwick Dryer Clarke studio to MOOi Architecture and Harvey Norman Architects‚” says Richard‚ “and this drive for innovation and their openness to advice and support is key. Our project advisors are on hand to work closely with practices from the initial scoping discussions all the way through the design stage and even into project management to deliver some

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fantastic projects that not only work from an design and aesthetic perspective but also as practical, liveable spaces that can be enjoyed every single day.” Having one of the widest range of innovative glazing solutions, from sliding doors to bifold doors and from glass roofs to impressive frameless glass structures‚ IDSystems is on hand to support Cambridge architects with a dedicated account manager and a passionate team of project advisors. For more information about our products and service call us on 01603 408804 for a chat or email info@idsystems.co.uk.

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DESIGNED IN CAMBRIDGE

High-end residential new builds in Barton © Emma Harper

EXPLORING THE LOCALE Graham Handley Architects has worked in and around Cambridge for almost three decades. In that time the company has developed a style and an understanding of the city – how it works, and what fits within it. Susie Lober finds out more about what makes this practice tick WORDS SUSIE LOBER

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of Graham Handley Architects. The practice is based in St Ives, ideally located for Cambridge and with its own rich historical character. Its office is an old flour mill which the practice converted in the early nineties. The building was semi derelict with unstable walls hidden behind dense ivy and occupied by old milling machinery and rats. The architects created a top floor studio, five metres high to the roof ridge. With windows on all four elevations and rooflights on both sides, it is flooded with natural light and is a delightful space to work in. They are inspired by the juxtaposition of old and new. Alongside its sensitive

A complex and creative residential development in Hooper Street, Cambridge © Emma Harper

and imaginative conservation work for which it is well known, the practice has recently completed a number of striking contemporary schemes. The majority of its work over the past three decades has been and remains in and around Cambridge. The recently completed Hooper Street project was a typical tight central Cambridge site with complex planning constraints. Redevelopment was restricted to within the existing envelope with no windows on three elevations. Graham Handley Architects’ creative response used a living screen wall to provide views and light but maintain privacy. The conversion of the existing house into two high quality

flats and a new contemporary zinc-roofed, cedar-clad house provides light and spacious accommodation. Out of town, the practice has been working with a distinctive local property developer on some very spacious and luxurious homes. Although the sites may be less constrained, the ambitions for a high-end and unique product were not. The Arks, in the village of Barton, were designed as a pair, but with each enjoying unique features. The same team are now working on a large single dwelling, which is currently at construction information stage with a view to starting on site in early 2018.

Sketch proposal for a large single dwelling in South Cambridgeshire © Graham Handley Architects

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CAMBRIDGE REVISITED

74

ST JOHN’S INNOVATION CENTRE

30 YEARS ON

St John’s led the way in a new concept for incubating small businesses WORDS NICK PHILLIPS

© Nick Phillips

St John’s Innovation Centre was completed in 1987, establishing a new building typology in the UK and was the first of its kind in Europe. Designed as an incubator for knowledgebased small businesses, it was situated on a greenfield site on the north-west side of Cambridge adjacent to the Science Park (founded in the 1970s) on land owned by St John’s College. The idea was conceived by Dr Chris Johnson, senior bursar of the College at the time, who looked at similar business models in the USA. The original building of some 2220m2 was designed by R H Partnership. The innovation centre accommodates about 60 companies and offers flexible office space (for small, mostly science-based start-ups), ranging from 10-350m2, with shared facilities.

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CAMBRIDGE REVISITED

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© Nick Phillips

The design strategy focused on the flexibility and maximising of opportunities for interaction, considered to be the key features of Innovation Centres. Knowledge transfer often occurs through chance encounter, and social spaces play an important role in enabling this potential. Therefore generous circulation, coffee areas, shared meeting rooms and cafés were central to the building layout. The obvious analogy is Watson and Crick working out the basics of DNA in The Eagle pub. The building has spawned several companions within its parkland setting. Following the success of the original centre, a second phase, Dirac House, was completed in July 1989, and the self-contained Jeffreys Building was completed in February 1990. Four further buildings: St John’s House, Edinburgh House, and the Vitrium and Platinum developments, were completed in 2001. The land remains the property of St John’s College. The design reflects 1980s British High-Tech architecture (pioneered by the likes of Norman Foster and Richard Rogers) which suited the progressive science and research-based use. The building envelope is principally steel and glass beneath shallow pitched roofs, which combine to form a series of interlocking gables. The structure is externalised, and stanchions divide to form a distinctive tree-like form which references the wider landscape. The larger central element accommodates

The design concept has been remarkably successful as a business model an atrium, which is a social focus. From this hub corridors run in both directions, forming a spine from which office space is accessed. The corridors are broken by light wells which also serve as break-out spaces. By today’s standards the frontage is a little dominated by car parking, and the proximity of the adjacent water treatment works was never ideal. However, the design concept has been remarkably successful as a business model and there are now Innovation Centres in most British towns. The building itself has aged well and has stood the test of time over the last 30 years, due in part to its choice of materials and lack of historical references. Today, you can occupy the building as a virtual tenant to take advantage of its reputable business address without having to physically occupy the building, which somewhat undermines the intention to promote social interaction as a city microcosm. Nick Phillips is the founding director of NP Architects, an award-winning RIBA Chartered Practice located in central Cambridge.

© Nick Phillips

© Nick Phillips

© Nick Phillips

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DEPARTMENT NEWS

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NEWS FROM SCROOPE TERRACE With future generations of architects finding their feet both literally and metaphorically on the doorstep at Scroope Terrace, it’s time to check in with the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge

The Department of Architecture is in celebratory mood this year: we once again topped the league tables for architecture schools in The Guardian rankings and in December we will be holding a two-day celebration of the foundation of the Martin Centre, formed 50 years ago. Everyone is welcome and we hope many will wish to attend, not only to discuss what the department has achieved in research terms over the last half century, but also to see where it is going. The department is not resting on its laurels; it is continually evolving in response to an ever-changing world. Our students today come out into a working world which is being altered by technology in surprising and unpredictable ways. It is our job to produce students who can not only respond to these challenges but also lead those changes. At both graduate

and undergraduate levels the department integrates research and teaching. There are many strands to the research of the Faculty. For instance, Dr Emily So leads research in Earthquake Resilience and Disaster Recovery, and the first year students go to Naples to study not only the rich history of the place but also its fragility. Dr Felipe Hernandez leads a strong research agenda in revitalising the cities of South America, taking Masters students to Bogota, and this year bringing Columbian Mayors together in Cambridge to discuss future developments. Dr Michael Ramage’s research into highrise timber structures has involved presentations to the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London. Our outgoing head of department, Professor Wendy Pullan, an expert on urban conflict, is regularly interviewed on Radio 4. Her successor,

Professor Francois Penz (pictured left), built the highly successful Masters in Film and Screen Studies, run jointly with Modern and Medieval Languages, an example of precisely the sort of interdisciplinary research that Cambridge is known for. The students are at the centre of everything we do. ArcSoc, the studentrun society, is more vibrant than ever. It organises weekly lectures. The Cabaret used to be a small event in which students lampooned their teachers. Now it is the name given to the enormous parties held at the Union to raise money for the end-of-year exhibition, which is organised by the students and held in London to show their work to the largest possible audience. See the website to find out what is going on in the Department in the coming year. Dr James Campbell, Seear Fellow in Architecture & Art History, Queens' The Martin Centre – www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk The Department – www.arct.cam.ac.uk ArcSoc – www.arcsoc.com Guardian rankings – www.theguardian. com/education/ng-interactive/2017/ may/16/university-guide-2018-leaguetable-for-architecture

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DEPARTMENT NEWS

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© Alex Atack

ARCSOC Talks, parties, meeting professional architects, and cheap modelling materials… who wouldn’t join ARCSOC?

The summer vacation has come to a close and I, like the rest of my year, savoured my last bit of downtime before final year began. As anyone who has been through architecture school knows, the year promises a load of hard work. It also promises a huge amount of fun. I’ll begin by saying thanks to Darya and James for their amazing work as President and Vice-President of ARCSOC over the last year. Hannah Sheerin and I have certainly got big boots to fill. Architecture students at Cambridge generally find time for ARCSOC, whether it’s helping put together an event or building a pavilion, or the summer show – if only because they rely on it for cheap modelling materials at the in-studio shop! This year we’ve hosted talks, weekly life drawing sessions, and organised parties, which have all gone towards funding the pavilion and summer show – at London’s Bargehouse this year for the second time

© Alex Atack

in a row. The ARCSOC Cabaret was perhaps the biggest event in terms of student participation, hosted as usual at the Cambridge Union. This year’s theme was Wet, which proved a massive success. It is always great fun to take over the hallowed chambers of the Union for a huge student party, especially when the students from all years take the time out to style the event and build stages. We’ve been lucky to host Jane Duncan, the outgoing president of the RIBA, along with talks from Studio Weave, Wright & Wright, and vPPR. In addition, we had the privilege to host CAA’s local character event in the department. Students always gain something from these talks, be it practical knowledge or the opportunity to get to know professionals. In terms of studio projects, we’ve had projects in London, Liverpool and Cambridge – in second year we worked on sites around the Walthamstow Wetlands in North London,

© Alex Atack

which was a brilliant choice of site, if only for its bleak post-industrial beauty. Further afield, our year went on a brilliant study trip to Lisbon over Christmas, while the first years took a week-long trip to Naples and the third years went Interrailing through different European cities. I may be a little biased, however, I believe that ARCSOC is a vibrant community organisation involving everyone studying architecture at Cambridge. Most weeks, we hold events open to all, and it is always great to welcome practising architects stopping by. James Fenna Vice-President, ARCSOC 2017-18

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STUDENT AWARDS 2017

74

STUDENT AWARDS 2017

At the Department of Architecture’s end-of-year show, two students were awarded prizes for their excellent work. Shirley Lo won the CAA Prize, awarded to the second year student displaying the greatest all-round ability in studio work, written examinations and coursework, while Oli Brenner was awarded the RIBA East Prize as the top overall third year student

OLI BRENNER LEARNING FROM LIVERPOOL

Through a reimagination of post-industrial Liverpool, this project provides a spatial setting for a pedagogy that rejects rigid teaching models found in Britain today. By learning from the loose and contingent nature of Liverpool’s existing cityscape, space and teaching are combined in a way that puts student and sense of place at its centre. This approach is fundamentally experiential, rejecting diagrammatic architectures in favour of spatial and material experience. The project supports Montessori regimes where children’s interactions with their environment are a source of learning. The school unfolds in a settlement with big sheds, complex classrooms and working yards, creating a porous ‘workshop for learning’.

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STUDENT AWARDS 2017

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SHIRLEY LO ALTERNATIVE VIEW

The float tower investigates the different dimensions of ‘viewing’. The mobile structure takes inspiration from Rossi’s Teatro del Mundo, and serves as a viewing deck, a mystery in the landscape, and a stage with three rotating sets that docks into the bank of the reservoirs in Tottenham Hale. The life-work incubator raises questions concerning the boundaries between life and work, at a time when more and more people, especially in the technological industry, favour working from home. Is it possible to retain the collaborative spirit of an office while providing the conveniences of one’s home?

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BUILDING COMMUNITIES

74

WHAT ARE YOU DOING

TO OUR CITY?

Cambridge Architecture has long desired to get more opinions out in the open, and contributors have often suggested it on condition of anonymity. The CA editorial team closed the blinds, turned out the lights, and quietly asked our guest, known only as The Secret Architect, why the same question keeps arising when local authorities procure their own buildings. We listened carefully... WORDS THE SECRET ARCHITECT

Over the past year, the CAA has participated in a number of public consultations on the redevelopment of sites owned by the County, District and City Councils. The question which many of these sites highlight is this: Is the remit of fiscal responsibility for the public coffers compromising each authority’s opportunity for creating exemplar developments? It is evident that there seems to be an underlying rush to drive projects through the planning process with urgency in order to gain the necessary approvals, without proper scrutiny or guidance by public, design, or peer review. Inevitably, this is resulting in low quality architecture and long term adverse impact on the public realm. Each planning authority has a design review process in place which it encourages private developers to participate in, yet appears not to utilise these services when it comes to its own developments. Are larger questions of the democratic process (such as four-year Council and five-year Parliamentary terms) and the partisan approach to the structure of governance limiting the potential of what’s possible? The life of buildings and cities are longterm endeavours which far outlast the electoral lifetime of the democratic system.

In the clamour to win public recognition for their own respective political corners within the four- or five-year terms, and the abhorrence for the opposition taking credit for their initiatives, are councils micro focusing on short-term gain, often resulting in long-term pain? As the centre of civic democracy, surely our local authorities should be carrying the torch, lighting the path to trail blaze the road ahead in achieving the highest standard and quality of the possible, that sets a benchmark for the

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

private sector to meet or surpass. The council, regardless of which party is in power at the time, should have a cross-party understanding of generational investment in the existing, current and future urban fabric. This requires long-term vision and aspiration, not short-term reactionary knee-jerk responses, or pressures to spend prescribed amounts of investment within unrealistic miniscule timeframes. Rather than just focusing on the preservation of the historic core, why is there not equal energy, talent and vision focused on the expanding city. A jewel is only as beautiful as the quality of the setting that surrounds it. If the city can trace its origins from the start of the 13th Century, the historic core represents 800 years of urban development. That is eight centuries of human endeavour, thought, vision, reflection and progress. If certain institutions within the city understand this, isn’t it incumbent upon the entities of civic collectiveness to understand this too, before the jewel is lost forever? So, I send this plea to local authorities: recognise the cost of good design as an investment, not an expense, that, if successful, will deliver a healthy, safe, sustainable city for the next 800 years.

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BUILDING COMMUNITIES

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MENDING HISTON ROAD A ROUTE TO BETTER QUALITY Cambridge Architecture last looked at Histon Road in spring/summer 2009, when it reported back on a design charrette held to look at key junctions and neighbourhoods in the city. Local software engineer Tim Ward asked us to take another look. Together with Paul Drew, urban designer and Director at Iceni Projects, they strolled over to Histon Road to see what's going on ... WORDS PAUL DREW AND TIM WARD

In CA58, the article Mending the City summarised a design charrette that looked at improving some of Cambridge’s less heroic urban fabric – areas that weren’t the most attractive but which still performed many vital functions for both local communities and city infrastructure as a whole. Histon Road was one such area that has seen some environmental change. The original article noted the piecemeal growth along the road, over time turning it from a semi-arterial route between the City and Histon, into a busy commuter thoroughfare, and that a series of urban infills resulted in a poor neighbourhood environment. However, positive elements such as the recreation ground and the mix of amenity uses were recognised. While, since 2009, there has been no implementation of a centrally-planned vision, there have been further piecemeal developments, albeit ones that greatly enhance the street scene, leading overall to a considerably more attractive environment. There is simply far more respect for the immediate context than in past developments. Langham House is of a style to match the existing building, and the two separate developments at the Akeman Street junction fit well together and work to ameliorate the existing commercial building which was previously a jarring intrusion into a row of houses. Chestnut House joins neatly onto Cranwell Court and the house on Huntingdon Road, in a way the petrol station never could. These show the cumulative effect of new and refurbished buildings along Histon Road,

The key to the changing character of the road has been the growth of Cambridge as a regional employment hub

Appleyard suggested that residents of Heavy Street have fewer friends and acquaintances because there was less home territory for socialising

demonstrating that clients, their design teams and, approval by approval, the planning authority is progressively improving the quality of Histon Road as a whole.

STUMBLING BLOCKS

One element that tended to be forgotten in the original charrette and the intervening planning approvals, is the public space of Histon Road itself. The key to the changing character of the road has been the growth of Cambridge as a regional employment hub and the city’s connection to the A14 via Histon Road. It is a typical place that people pass through, defined by a streetscape dominated by hard roads, compromised pedestrian crossings and minimal planting. The increased intensity of traffic on these types of roads is a lesson learnt at regular intervals in urban design studies; that the busier the arterial road is, the more it severs and disrupts the neighbourhood that it passes through. This was analysed by Donald Appleyard in 1972, noting that the effect of busy roads resulted in reduced people interaction. Today, we have the common language of ‘Placemaking’, where key texts like the Manual for Streets (2007) provide a theoretical matrix to Appleyard’s original study. It sets out an individual road’s movement status (amount of use) against its place status (its capacity to create and support communities). But what about Histon Road’s placemaking capacity today? Site redevelopment,

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KEY: 1. Langham House: a tired, small Art Deco residential block with an unattractive parking space and garage block. Refurbished and with the addition of a larger Art Deco residential block, is now the key feature of the Gilbert Road junction. 2. A  t the Akeman Street junction, the firedamaged Fair Rose retirement home has been replaced by the Akeman House residential block… 3. ...as have the houses next door. 4. The Simon’s House residential home was unsuited to modern needs, and was replaced by the much improved Richard Newcombe Court. 5. T  he Lucy Cavendish student accommodation at 100 Histon Road replaces a pub (and its garden and car park). 6. C  hestnut House, student accommodation that replaces a petrol station. 7. Mount Pleasant House is scheduled to be replaced by student accommodation for St Edmund’s College.

high quality design, and collaboration between clients, design teams and planning authorities are all a good start. However, engagement with highway and transport stakeholders is, perhaps, some way behind.

GUIDING FUTURE INITIATIVES

It could be argued that today’s Histon Road, has seen the neighbourhood suffer for the sake of the city’s highway needs. The frustration is that the social impacts which are often identified do not appear on the radar of the traffic modelling that the city regularly undertakes. The result is that the understanding of what makes for ‘the greater good’ places other objectives of neighbourhood development and sustainable transport on the sidelines; the car still remains king. If the County and City Councils could incorporate Social Impact studies within their future transport plans, there might be a number of opportunities for places such as humble Histon Road. This would allow the recent interventions an even greater capacity to contribute positively to the area.

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BUILDING COMMUNITIES

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SOCIAL HOUSING: A GLASS (ALMOST) HALF FULL? With so much development across the city, we ask 5th Studio’s February Phillips to look at social housing past, present, and future More high quality social and affordable housing is desperately needed in Cambridge, where rising house prices are rapidly turning our city into a ‘wealth ghetto’ in which only the rich can afford to live. Providing housing for vulnerable households and those who are unable to access the private market reduces homelessness, creates diverse communities and broadens opportunity. We are, however, struggling with providing enough affordable housing and because of this there is a tendency to focus on numbers and sideline the equally important issue of quality. So, what are the key players in the social housing market (central government, local authorities, housing associations, and private developers) doing to deliver the quality and quantity of social housing that Cambridge needs? In recent history, the provision of affordable housing has fallen predominantly in the hands of the private sector. The quality of this housing was either developed with housing associations or set by the standards required for all housing. As could have been anticipated, with a profit-driven model, there was sometimes a

Virido in Great Kneighton, where Hill worked with Cambridge City Council to achieve 50% affordable housing.© Justin Paget/Hill

notable and unacceptable difference between the quality of properties for private sale on the market and those for social housing. The quantities for the provision of affordable units are set through planning policy, largely based on a percentage of affordable units as part of the whole development. The 2014 draft Local Plan set out between 10% and 40% of affordable housing in the development depending on the size. The urban extensions to Cambridge offered 40% with Virido achieving an additional 10% through Homes and Community Agency grant funding. It became clear, however, that the numbers didn’t always add up, with developers citing viability as a reason for proposing zero

affordable housing on central city sites. The Government’s housing white paper, published in January 2017, sensibly proposed that the delivery of social housing needed to be broadened, encouraging housing associations to expand their property ownership and urging local authorities to develop their own land for social housing (harking back to the 1960s and 1970s). One of the mechanisms supported by the government to deliver more and better social housing is partnering. Cambridge City Council has set up Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP), with housing developer Hill to deliver housing. It will be social, affordable and for the market sale, on land owned by the Council in Cambridge. One of the first of the CIP’s ventures is the Mill Road depot. The partnership has appointed architects Allies and Morrison to design a scheme which claims it will deliver a minimum of 40% affordable housing in this prime location. I’m looking forward to seeing this and other developments by the CIP take shape, and hope that in the rush to provide numbers the CIP continues to keep quality as a high priority when selecting its design consultants. After all, the real clients of social housing aren’t private developers, local authorities or housing associations – the real clients could be you or me. February Phillips, former editor & CAA Chair, is an Associate Architect at 5th Studio in Cambridge, whose clients include the London Boroughs and Peabody Housing Association.

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SATISFACTION GUARANTEED? RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FOR ARCHITECTS

"SATISFACTION GUARANTEED? RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FOR ARCHITECTS One year after the RIBA published its ‘What Clients Think of Architects’ report, we take a close look at what architects are doing well, and areas where we might be missing a trick WORDS MATT THOMSON, RIBA CLIENT LIAISON GROUP

The RIBA Client Liaison Group (CLG) was set up to explore the intersection of client need and architects’ creative problem-solving skills, identifying it as the crucible of value in the construction industry. Thus, the client-architect relationship is pivotal and deserving of much closer scrutiny. The irony for architects is that, while their designs might create value, clients do not see it that way. That is the perception from the CLG’s 2016 Working with Architects survey. With a representative sample of responses from about 1000 clients, it showed they were highly satisfied with their architects’ technical design performance. They were significantly less satisfied with how architects deliver it, which may begin to negate any value created. The findings revealed three distinct segments in the client body. On average, private domestic clients are the most satisfied. Commercial clients are still highly satisfied, but significantly less so. Contractor clients are least satisfied, and the extent of their dissatisfaction was a surprise. Simple correctives such as demonstrating commercial understanding are self-evident. More subtly, the results hint at potentially valuable correlations that savvy architects can exploit in their business development plans. For example, findings confirmed the positive effect that personal recommendations and, to a lesser extent, repeat business have on your satisfaction ratings. Clients were significantly more satisfied with architects who followed up after completing a contract. Traditionally, the profession has excused itself from this kind of customer care because neither fees nor resources stretch that far. But these findings suggest that it could be missing a trick. If it increases your chance of endorsement or repeat work, the extra effort and cost would seem to be well worth it. The report, with other useful insights, is free to download at www.architecture.com. The CLG is working with Constructing Excellence to disseminate its findings, and will be launching its new focus on the strategic value of client feedback at Guerrilla Tactics 2017.

CLIENT SATISFACTION RATINGS Percentage of clients who are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied. Contractors are consistently the least satisfied group OVERALL PROCESS MANAGEMENT COMMERCIAL UNDERSTANDING VALUE ADDING ACTIVITIES ADHERING TO PROGRAMME TECHNICAL DESIGN SPECIFICATION MANAGING THEIR WORK EFFICIENCY OF ADMIN DATA MANAGEMENT APPROACH COLLABORATING WITH THE PROJECT TEAM COMMUNICATING WITH CLIENT UNDERSTANDING CLIENT NEEDS MANAGING HANDOVER PROCESS EXPLAINING DESIGN PROPOSALS DEVELOPING INTERPRETING BRIEF TECHNICAL DESIGN PERFORMANCE EFFECT PROJECT HAS ON MAINTENANCE OF BUILDING PROJECT MEETS BRIEF OTHER DESIGN QUALITIES OF PROJECT

Private domestic Contractors Commercial All

EFFECT PROJECT HAS ON FUNCTION BUILDING AESTHETIC QUALITIES OF PROJECT 0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

The survey measured clients’ opinions about 18 different criteria, as well as how clients rate the outcome of the project overall. Clients have been split into three groups – private domestic clients, contractors, and all other commercial clients.

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PRIVATE DOMESTIC

PRIVATE DOMESTIC

PRIVATE DOMESTIC

CONTRACTORS

CONTRACTORS

CONTRACTORS

COMMERCIAL

COMMERCIAL

COMMERCIAL

76%

© Original graphcis: RIBA and RIBA Journal

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED? RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FOR ARCHITECTS

77% 73% 67% 30% 56% 51%

61%

50%

OVERALL PROJECT SKILLS The diagram above shows the percentage of clients who are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with the project, overall

DESIGN SKILLS Per cent of clients who are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with architects’ technical design performance (mean average of all scores)

PROCESS MANAGEMENT Per cent of clients who are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with architects’ process management performance (mean average of all scores)

Clients are pleased with their project, overall It appears that most clients are satisfied with the buildings produced. The highest scores come from private domestic clients, 76% of whom are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with the project, overall. Not far behind in this area are commercial clients, while contractors satisfaction levels are trailing some way behind, giving the lowest scores.

Architects’ design skills are highly rated... Clients appreciate their projects’ aesthetic and other design qualities (such as levels of daylight, room dimensions, ease of circulation, and so on) and their architects’ ability to meet the brief. Private domestic clients are more satisfied with their architects on all counts than either contractor or commercial clients.

... but managing the process is less well rated Although clients give architects good ratings for some aspects of the process – interpreting client needs, explaining and communicating – clients are less satisfied with other aspects of architects’ process management, such as their commercial understanding, adding value, adhering to the programme and managing work. Contractors give substantially lower satisfaction scores than other clients.

RECOMMENDED USED BEFORE OTHER WAYS 80%

SATISFACTION FOLLOW-UP Client satisfaction ratings, by whether the architect followed up after completion and whether the architect was contracted to follow up DESIGN PERFORMANCE

70% 59%

FOLLOW-UP, NOT CONTRACTED FOLLOW-UP, CONTRACTED NO FOLLOW-UP, NOT CONTRACTED NO FOLLOW-UP, CONTRACTED

PERSONAL SELECTION Per cent of clients who are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with architects’ design performance (mean average of all scores)

FOLLOW-UP, NOT CONTRACTED FOLLOW-UP, CONTRACTED NO FOLLOW-UP, NOT CONTRACTED NO FOLLOW-UP, CONTRACTED 60

40

20

0

20

<<< VERY/FAIRLY DISSATISFIED

50%

Architects selected personally are more highly rated It seems that clients are more satisfied when there is a personal element in the way they selected their architect. In other words, architects selected through personal recommendation or because the client had used them before were rated significantly higher than architects selected in other ways, such as advertisement, framework or via novation on a design and build project.

PROCESS MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE

40

60

80

VERY/FAIRLY SATISFIED >>> PER CENT RESPONDENTS

The client-architect relationship is pivotal

NEUTRAL RATINGS (‘NEITHER SATISFIED NOR DISSATISFIED’) ARE NOT DISPLAYED ABOVE How was it for you? Architects who followed up after the end of the project when not contracted to do so were even more highly rated than architects who were. Both were rated significantly higher than architects who did not follow up.

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RIBA EAST AWARDS 2017

The RIBA East Awards 2017 produced an unprecedented array of strong projects that challenged the judges. Here, we present the winners

WINNER: RIBA EAST BUILDING OF THE YEAR VAJRASANA BUDDHIST RETREAT CENTRE Architect practice: Walters & Cohen Architects Date of completion: May 2016 Client company name: London Buddhist Centre Project city/town: Walsham le Willows Contract value: £4,162,557 Internal area: 1,210m² Awards: RIBA East Award and RIBA East Building of the Year “This is an extraordinarily well conceived building which has arisen from close collaboration between client and architect and is delighting its users. There is a wonderful sense of calm in both the spaces created and materials used that are thoroughly appropriate to the building’s use.” Jury Report © Dennis Gilbert

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RIBA EAST AWARDS 2017 “The building is an extraordinary structure, like other extraordinary structures on this part of the Essex coast, which hovers over the reclaimed marshland. It is a small, beautifully detailed and conceived house that has dealt with the considerable challenges presented by the site in a seemingly effortless way.” Jury Report

WINNER: RIBA EAST SMALL PROJECT OF THE YEAR REDSHANK

Architect practice: Lisa Shell Architects Ltd with Marcus Taylor Date of completion: August 2016 Client company name: Make Some Space Ltd Project city/town: St Osyth Contract value: Confidential Internal area: 49m² Awards: RIBA East Award and RIBA East Small Project of the Year © Helene Binet

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WINNER: RIBA EAST CONSERVATION AWARD, RIBA EAST PROJECT ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR ST ALBANS ABBEY

Architect practice: Richard Griffiths Architects Date of completion: October 2016 Client company name: The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban Project city/town: St Albans

Contract value: £3,400,000 Internal area: 3,500m² Awards: RIBA East Award, RIBA East Conservation Award, RIBA East Project Architect of the Year

“As a body of restoration, repair and sensitive small interventions with an intelligent overseeing approach, this is exemplary conservation work.” Jury Report

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RIBA EAST AWARDS 2017

WINNER: RIBA EAST CLIENT OF THE YEAR, RIBA EAST SUSTAINABILITY AWARD THE ENTERPRISE CENTRE, UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA Architect practice: Architype Date of completion: June 2015 Client company name: Adapt Low Carbon Group and the University of East Anglia Project city/town: Norwich Contract value: £11,600,000 Internal area: 3,425m² Awards: RIBA East Award, RIBA East Client of the Year, RIBA East Sustainability award

“This is an ambitious project that set out to be the first Passivhaus office building in the UK, to source low-carbon materials locally and explore the idea of a contemporary vernacular. A lot has been learnt on the way and the learning process has been as important as the end result. It has achieved much of that ambition and is exemplary. The close collaboration and mutual respect of client and architect has been fundamental to achieve such a praiseworthy result.” Jury Report © Dennis Gilbert

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RIBA EAST AWARDS 2017

THE WELDING INSTITUTE

UNIVERSITY PRIMARY SCHOOL Architect practice: Marks Barfield Architects Date of completion: September 2015 Client company name: University of Cambridge Primary School/North West Cambridge Development Project city/town: Cambridge Contract value: Confidential Internal area: 3,818m² Award: RIBA East Award

Architect practice: Eric Parry Architects Date of completion: February 2015 Client company name: TWI Ltd Project city/town: Cambridge Contract value: £42,500,000 Internal area: 20,844m² Award: RIBA East Award “The building matches in architectural quality the innovation that goes on inside it. The Welding Institute is a world-leading organisation dealing with joining technology at every scale. It is unusual to see a building of this quality in a business park and it shows that it can be done without excessive cost. The building has an architectural quality commensurate to the extraordinary innovations going on within it.” Jury Report © Dirk Lindner

© Morley von Sternberg

“Considerable research went into the development of this primary school, taking best practice from across the globe on teaching methods since it is also a training school. It is an ambitious project and staff are clearly proud and delighted with the resultant building. The circular form of the school wraps around a central courtyard, giving a clear sense of place on arrival as well as serving as an external assembly room that brings the whole school together.” Jury Report

THE ECHOES

© Dennis Gilbert

Architect practice: Bell Phillips Architects Date of completion: February 2016 Client company name: Thurrock Council Housing Department Project city/town: Grays Contract value: Confidential Internal area: 5,695m² Award: RIBA East Award

“It is good to see such a high quality housing scheme sponsored by a local authority. This is Thurrock’s first development in an ambitious new housing programme and the architect was involved from the start in advising on potential sites. Such a close collaboration between architect and local authority has been rewarded with a bold architectural response.” Jury Report

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PEACOCK HOUSE Architect practice: BHSF Architekten with Studio-P Date of completion: December 2016 Client: Jila and Andrew Peacock Project city/town: Aldeburgh Contract value: £948,597 Internal area: 264m² Awards: RIBA East Award “The house is an accomplished work of architecture, whose overall simplicity in plan, elevation and detail belies an intriguing complexity in both internal and external spaces.”Jury Report

© Benedikt Redmann

LODE HOUSE

MODERN DETACHED © Timothy Soar

Architect practice: Coffey Architects Date of completion: January 2016 Client: Private client Project city/town: Harpenden Contract value: Confidential Internal area: 350m² Awards: RIBA East Award “This house shows that good modern architecture can sit comfortably and modestly in a suburban street through a contemporary reinterpretation of neighbouring forms and details. Internally, and in contrast, the house displays flamboyance in its open living spaces and stair hall.” Jury Report

© Henry Goss

MARSH HILL

Architect practice: Henry Goss Architects Date of completion: January 2016 Client company name: Lucy and Nick Wells Project city/town: Lode Contract value: £70,000 Internal area: 40m² Awards: RIBA East Award

Architect practice: Mole Architects Date of completion: September 2015 Client: Private client Project city/town: Aldeburgh Contract value: Confidential Internal area: 250m² Awards: RIBA East Award

“This is a small but exquisitely detailed addition to a house, providing the owners with an extended internal living room and generous covered external living space. The quality of finish and ambition in this small scale project is applauded and is an exemplar for other small home extensions to follow.” Jury Report © David Butler

“Boldly detailed, this house makes a distinctive contribution to the Suffolk landscape.” Jury Report

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RIBA EAST AWARDS 2017

HOLKHAM HALL STABLES AND POTTERY BUILDING Architect practice: Hopkins Architects Date of completion: October 2016 Client company name: Holkham Estate Office Project city/town: Wells-next-the-Sea Contract value: £4,000,000 Internal area: 3,187m² Awards: RIBA East Award and RIBA East Conservation Award “Two separate buildings at Holkham Hall form part of this submission. The stables building has been rearranged and improved to provide an exhibition space, new shop and expanded cafeteria, and is well handled. However, the most significant interventions have been made on the pottery building where various disjointed spaces have cleverly been brought together to form one large light-filled venue space for weddings, banquets and conferences.” Jury Report

© Martine Hamilton Knight

COWAN COURT

HEONG GALLERY, DOWNING COLLEGE

© Johan Dehlin

Architect practice: 6a architects Date of completion: August 2016 Client company name: Churchill College Project city/town: Cambridge Contract value: £9,220,000 Internal area: 2,420m² Awards: RIBA East Award “This new hall of residence captures much of the ethos behind the original design for Churchill College but gives us a bold and extremely well thought through contemporary interpretation of it. The proposition is simple: a courtyard of similar proportions and scale to the existing residential courtyards yet giving it a distinctive twist.” Jury Report

© Ioana Marinescu

Architect practice: Caruso St John Architects Date of completion: January 2016 Client company name: Downing College Project city/town: Cambridge Contract value: Confidential Internal area: 178m² Awards: RIBA East Award

“An unloved area of Downing College consisting of unremarkable buildings has been transformed into an understated but elegant gallery with a well-detailed forecourt. The approach of simplicity and elegance has been taken through to the external treatment and detailing of benches and cast aluminium rain canopy. The courtyard adds a sense of repose and generosity, giving the college an adaptable but welcoming space.” Jury Report

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RIBA EAST AWARDS 2017

BACKWATER

CARROWBRECK MEADOW

© Alan Williams

Architect practice: Platform 5 Architects Date of completion: May 2016 Client: Claire Michell Project city/town: Wroxham Contract value: Confidential Internal area: 165m² Awards: RIBA East Award

“Three bays reflect the internal organisation of the house. Each bay is angled and exploits the numerous vistas that surround the site in an effortless but enchanting ensemble, with windows that are well placed and proportioned to their outlook. The relaxed and calm way that all the spaces of the building relate to each is the secret to the house’s success.” Jury Report © Jefferson Smith

COMBINED COLLEGES BOATHOUSE Architect practice: R H Partnership Architects (RHP) Date of completion: May 2016 Client company name: Combined Cambridge Colleges of Churchill, Kings and Selwyn, together with The Leys Project city/town: Cambridge Contract value: £2,200,000 Internal area: 1,381m² Awards: RIBA East Award “Overall, this is well conceived and delightful addition to the River Cam’s frontage for what is a very simple building type but which, in this case, has been elevated into something special.” Jury Report

© Andrew Hatfield

Architect practice: Hamson Barron Smith Date of completion: October 2016 Client company name: Broadland Growth Ltd Project city/town: Greater Norwich Contract value: Confidential Internal area: 1,548.30m² Awards: RIBA East Award “This project for 14 Passivhaus homes is applauded for setting a new benchmark for local authority housing in the region. It combines a mixed but blind tenure scheme, with 43% affordable housing and passivhaus certification, together with a layout and design that is above the usual expectation. It has also considered biodiversity carefully and provides woodland paths and an animal haven.” Jury Report

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FUTURE 40: HACKATHON

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD

The valiant Hackathon teams © HilsonMoran

Driverless tech in the US © Waymo

In September, Hilson Moran hosted a workshop (Hackathon), at principal client Brookgate’s office near CB1. It focused on autonomous vehicles and how this technology could be integrated into Cambridge’s infrastructure in years to come, perhaps helping to solve the city’s traffic challenges WORDS CAROLINE STEPHENS, HILSON MORAN

Following a short overview of the current advancements in driverless vehicle technology by Hilson Moran’s Associate Sustainability Consultant, Marie-Louise Schembri, our guests divided into two teams to discuss their ideas. Team A compared generic parallel car journeys and the time and lifestyle advantages gained if we all drove autonomous vehicles. Meanwhile, Team B looked at a range of scales of autonomous vehicle transportation, from the individual Tesla-funded school pod to a hyperloop-style series of connected pods.

One of the most exciting aspects for urban designers is the opportunity to re-purpose land

Judges Stefanie Rachmann-Davies, of transport consultants Odyssey; Dan Clarke of Smart Cambridge; and Chris Birch, Head of Sustainability at Hilson Moran, chose Team B as their winner due to its detailed explanation of how the end user would interface with autonomous vehicles and how the supporting infrastructure would enable the technology. Edward Leigh, of Smarter Cambridge Transport, commented: “There is a sense of inevitability about the advent of autonomous vehicles, yet a future with them is difficult to envisage because so much else will have to change too. “One of the most exciting aspects for urban designers is the opportunity to re-purpose land currently used for parking vehicles: if all we need are pick-up/drop-off bays, what could we do with all the freed-up street space and car parks?”

Who We Are Established in 1977, Hilson Moran is a leading multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, with over 250 staff in offices in London, Farnborough, Manchester, Cambridge, Doha and Abu Dhabi. Having worked in Cambridge for almost 20 years, we opened our Station Road office in 2015. Brookgate is a principal client, and Hilson Moran has worked on a range of building types, from design to completion, in both CB1 and CB4. Key recent appointments have been: the five-year framework for the University of Cambridge and working with Cambridge Science Park (CSP) and Bidwells to deliver a Sustainable Resources, Energy and Infrastructure Masterplan covering the next 40-year period; the MEP, Specialist Engineering and Sustainability Consultant for various units in Phase 1, and selection as Infrastructure Consultant for Phase 1 of the Infrastructure Masterplan. We work with the world’s leading semiconductor intellectual property supplier, ARM in Cambridge. We are supporting the fit-out of the new campus at Peterhouse Technology Park, providing MEP design consultancy, sustainability, acoustics, fire engineering and security. The Internet of Things (IoT) design solutions we develop enable ARM to maximise its investment, ‘future proofing’ the office for expansion, and showcasing our ability to develop innovative fit-out designs based on advanced technology, underpinned by a focus on user experience.

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WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON?

COMPLETION OF WESLEY COLLEGE

A NEW DISTRICT FOR CAMBRIDGE

Cowper Griffith Architects has recently completed a project for Wesley College, Cambridge. The scheme consolidates the College onto approximately half the original site, after an arrangement with Jesus College, to rationalise accommodation. The highly constrained site, and the close proximity of the new buildings to the College Chapel made this a challenging project. The new accommodation and teaching facilities have been carefully stitched into the listed 1920s and 18th century buildings adjacent.

Proposals for a mixed-use innovation district on a 48-hectare brownfield site around the city’s waste water treatment works are being developed by 5th Studio. The proposals include up to 7,600 new homes on the site that’s near to the new Cambridge North railway station and the city’s Science and Business Parks. Work to date has informed a £200 million bid to the DCLG Housing Infrastructure Fund to relocate the sewage works. The bid has been backed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

ERIC MARTIN AND ALEX GIARLIS – TOWERS ON THE ROUNDABOUTS Eric Martin of Delvendahl Martin has been investigating the potential of roundabouts in Cambridge as public spaces. The idea will be further explored in the next academic year with third year students of the University’s Department of Architecture, where Eric is a Design Fellow. At the same time, Alexander Giarlis and Brigitta Lenz of Neubau Architecture Limited, have been working on an unsolicited masterplan for Newmarket Road. The two studies intersect at the Elizabeth Way roundabout. Both parties will see if there is any mileage in collaborating on their strategically opposing proposals for the area. A collage of an 1835 proposal for the Fitzwilliam Museum on Elizabeth Way roundabout

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WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON?

MART BARRASS ARCHITECT – EXTENSION AND ADDITION TO GRADE II LISTED FARMHOUSE MBA(Ltd) is currently developing proposals for an extension to a Grade II listed 18th Century farmhouse, together with a newbuild detached home office and garage guest wing. The cylindrical design is generated and centred on the circular brick-lined redundant water well in the rear garden and makes reference to the previously removed orchard in its tree stump-like forms. The proposed vertical oak plank clad structures utilise glulam wood frames to echo the historic timber frame of the existing building, and are chamfered at angles to track the morning and evening sun. The guest wing is situated to provide physical separation between living and working environments, allowing views back to the farmhouse. It also forms a visual barrier to a cluster of recent box houses to the north with the intention of improving the historic setting.

STUDIO TEEPEE Studio TeePee is a new architectural practice created by Matt Plummer, formerly of R H Partnership. He says: “Our current projects are predominantly residential, including converting a flint threshing barn in Suffolk to become a wedding venue; a small development of properties on a town backland site; a new home overlooking the countryside; an extension to an Edwardian property in Ely; and the conversion of long-closed shops to become dwellings. We are working directly with developers, landowners, contractors and domestic clients. All our projects are exciting opportunities to continue exploring themes of local vernacular, materiality, interaction, and community.”

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR UNUSUAL QUARRY SITE

WORK STARTING ON THE GREENWICH PENINSULA DESIGN DISTRICT Mole is working on an exciting project at the heart of the new development on the Greenwich Peninsula. The Design District is a new pedestrian quarter with buildings designed for creative industries – designers, artists, and makers of all types. It is also an ambitious architectural project in its own right with 16 compelling buildings by eight leading architects.

NP Architects has secured planning permission for three new four bedroom homes on the site of a former quarry on Lime Kiln Road, Cambridge. The dwellings have been conceived as simple interlocking rectangular volumes set into the side of the pit. A plain masonry wall runs full height to one side of each plot to retain a vertical emphasis within the quarry and to provide a face for climbing plants. Construction is due to start January 2018.

RAISING THE BAR ON HISTON ROAD One88 Histon Road creates a high quality benchmark for future development. The residential design by studio24 architects for HTS Estates takes a ‘fabric first’ approach using natural and A-rated materials and constructions, supplied from renewable sources. Constructed by P B Doyle, the scheme is due to be completed in early 2018.

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Cambridge Architecture gazette CA74  
Cambridge Architecture gazette CA74  

CA74 Autumn/Winter 2017 issue. Designed In Cambridge

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