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78 Cambridge Architecture

Summer/Autumn 2019

Community

Breath of the compassionate

Exploring Marks Barfield's Cambridge mosque

Planning for future weather

How the global climate crisis will shape new schemes


Cambridge design studio

Contemporary, traditional & truly bespoke living spaces Contact us to discuss how we can design your perfect room. 01953 601567 enquiries@bryanturnerkitchens.com www.bryanturnerkitchens.com

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Contents

16

20

Contents 4-5 News

Urban Room appeal, LABC awards, and events

26-27 Planning for the weather

How the global climate crisis will shape our work

Cambridge Architecture

We examine the city's first co-housing scheme and ask if all houses should look the same

Congratulations to all who scooped a Cambridge Design and Construction Award

28-29 The prize draw

Cambridge Architecture 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

10-11 Going rural

31 Making a difference

Any comments or for a copy of the magazine, contact editors@cambridgearchitects.org

6-9 A new identity for Cambridge

What does the future hold for the countryside?

Anne Bailey, CEO of Form the Future, on a new collaboration helping young people

12-15 High street model

Mill Road Butchers may hold the key to what is needed for a new kind of high street

16-19 Breath of the compassionate We take a look at the new Cambridge mosque

Lord Lansley reports from the Cambridgeshire Development Forum

Four students win high praise for their architectural vision and skill

23-25 We need to talk about Eddington

ADVERTISEMENT SALES Marie Luise CritchleyWaring (advertising@cambridgearchitects.org) Published by CPL

34-35 Designed for success

The region's RIBA award-winning schemes

20-21 Top of the class

Opposing views on the development

32-33 Creating opportunities

EDITORS David Adams, Tom Foggin, Susie Lober, Natalie Matanda

www.cpl.co.uk

37 Access all areas

Policy requirements are changing

38-39 Work in progress

A round-up of the projects we're working on

Cover photo The Cambridge Central Mosque by Marks Barfield Architects Š Richard Fraser Photography www.richardfraserphotography.co.uk

The CAA thanks the following sponsors AC Architects Cambridge Ltd Anonymous Donor BB&C Architects Limited BCR Infinity Architects Borough Architects Colen Lumley RIBA DaltonMuscat Architects LLP Donald Insall Associates EIKON Architecture and Design Emma Adams Architect

Feilden + Mawson George Davidson Architect Graham Handley Architects Haysom Ward Miller Hertzog & de Meuron Karen Rainsford Architect M Reynolds RIBA Mart Barrass Architect Ltd Mole Architects N J Twitchett

Neale Associates NP Architects Peter Rawlings Architects Ltd R H Partnership Architects Ltd Raydan Watkins Architects Richard Goy Architect Saunders Boston Snell David Architects Stephen Brooks Architect Studio 24 Architects

CA78 was made possible by the kind donations from the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry

Cambridge Architecture 3


News and events

News © Richard Fraser Photography

Can you help the Urban Room? One recommendation of the 2014 Farrell Review was for towns and cities to have an Urban Room – a neutral space for presentations, exhibitions, public engagement, discussions and debates, to meet developers, and to discuss community initiatives. The CAA wants to make this happen, so – in addition to our own research – we’re asking YOU to help US. Do you know of a shop unit or a business unit to let? Do you have a space that you’d be prepared to lease to the RIBA? Full details are on our website, but if you’ve got any ideas, get in touch at UrbanRoom@cambridgearchitects.org

Welcome Cambridge Mosque

Mill Road parklet Congratulations to volunteers from the CAA who supported the design and installation of Cambridge's first parklet, taking advantage of the temporary closure of Mill Road this summer to give back space to the local community. Thank you to 5th Studio, Feilden + Mawson, RHP, Studio24, Neubau, LDA Design, WSP and everyone else who took part – let's hope this is the first of many parklets across the city!

The editors Summer/Autumn 2019

Community

CA78_01 Cover v2.indd 2

4 Cambridge Architecture

Breath of the compassionate

Exploring Marks Barfield's Cambridge mosque

Planning for future weather

How the global climate crisis will shape new schemes

12/09/2019 12:33

No, nothing’s missing – except the plastic wrap! Over the past year, the CAA has been exploring various ways to reduce plastic waste, and removing the wrapper was an obvious win. It’s a surprisingly complex task for a gazette with limited (but essential) funding, but we decided the easiest option was to remove it entirely – we hope you agree.

Return Address Cambridge Architecture c/o CPL 1 Cambridge Technopark Newmarket Road Cambridge CB5 8PB

Cambridge Architecture

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Cambridge Architecture unwrapped

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Welcome to CA78! After our revamped last issue, we’ve decided to make a few more improvements to the format, including the removal of the plastic wrapper. As this period of political, social and environmental turmoil continues to challenge our understanding of – and the role we play in – the world around us, we focus on the universal theme of community with a visit to Marks Barfield’s incredible mosque and a look in more detail at the Marmalade Lane co-housing scheme by Mole Architects. In this issue, we also explore aspects closer to home including: the climate crisis and inclusive design; the example set by a bold restoration and development for Mill Road Butchers by Studio24 Architects; and we ask Public Practice to explain how Design Guides can help villages and towns plan their futures. As it’s awards season, we are pleased to feature the Cambridge student awards on our centrefold, as well as winners from both the RIBA East Region Awards and the Cambridge Design and Construction Awards. We also have some architectural debate about the multi awardwinning Eddington development, and our regular features continue with our Work In Progress section highlighting the latest projects from Chartered Practices across the city and wider region.

The RIBA recently declared a climate emergency (http://bit.ly/ca78climate) and we are exploring ways in which the Cambridge Association of Architects can help address the climate and biodiversity crises at local branch level. That's why we have unwrapped this edition of Cambridge Architecture for you. As part of our commitment to reducing waste, we have decided to remove the recyclable plastic wrapper, reducing the risk of it going to landfill unnecessarily. We hope you will agree this small step to reducing waste is worthwhile. We would welcome your feedback either via email editors@cambridgearchitects.org or Twitter @RIBACambridge and @CamArchitecture The Editors

CA78 CA78_01 Cover v2.indd 1

12/09/2019 12:33


News and events

Events

LABC Awards More than 240 guests attended the LABC East Anglia Building Excellence Awards in Norwich on 5 July. They represented companies from across the construction industry in the region, covering Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. The LABC Building Excellence Awards showcase buildings and design teams that have come up against complex technical or construction issues and site constraints. The awards also celebrate the success of innovative, creative solutions. Local winning projects included Montreal Mews, Cambridge, by NP Architects, and Abcam, Addenbrooke’s Biomedical Campus, by NBBJ. More than £1,800 was raised for LABC President Dave Sharp’s chosen charity, We Build the Future. This works with the construction and built environment sector to help raise funds to beat cancer and support affected industry workers.

CFCI Lecture: Construction training programme 14 October 2019, 6.30pm Gillespie Centre, Clare College, Cambridge See www.cfci.org.uk for more information and to book tickets.

Brick Works 2019 16 October 2019, 5.30pm The Old Hall, Queens' College, Silver Street, Cambridge, CB3 9ET See https://www.brick.org.uk/brickworks/brick-works-october for more information and to book tickets.

RIBA great British buildings tour: Simon Sainsbury Centre

2019 – a landmark year This year seems to be significant for a number of reasons, not least some big birthdays for Cambridge-based architects. Congratulations to Donald Insall Associates, which recently celebrated its 60th year in practice and its 25th year in Cambridge.

Saunders Boston Architects, meanwhile, has organised a series of architectural walks to celebrate 100 years of practice and 50 years of their presence in Cambridge. More information about the SBA100 Walks, which continue throughout the year, can be found on its website www.saundersboston.co.uk

17 October 2019, 6.15pm Cambridge Judge Business School, Trumpington Street, Cambrigde, CB2 1AG See http://bit.ly/ca78judge for more information and to book tickets.

RIBA Great British Buildings Tour: The Dorothy Garrod Building 22 October 2019, 4pm Nenwham College, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DF See http://bit.ly/ca78newnham for more information and to book tickets.

RIBA CPD: Business planning 31 October 2019, 2pm

The Rising Path In 2016, Chadwick Dryer Clarke studio won an invited design competition held by the Botanic Garden and University of Cambridge Estates to design a sitooterie or garden room to make the most of the special character of the systematic beds located in the main garden and surroundings. The winning solution offers an accessible viewing platform and exhibition area. Situated to the south of the systematic beds, the Rising Path has been devised as a gently sloping path that appears to naturally flow from the established Gardenesque path network. The journey up the Rising Path spirals through the maturing conifer collection of the New Pinetum and is punctuated by interpretation highlighting the evolutionary innovations that enabled plants to survive on land. The project recently won the Galvanizers Association Architectural Award 2019 and, earlier in the year, the CFCI Best Landscape and Engineering and Sustainability Awards.

Future Business Centre, Kings Hedges Road, Cambridge, CB 2QT See https://core2019-businessplanningcambridge.eventbrite.co.uk for more information and to book tickets.

CFCI Lecture: Investment renewal at the Cambridge Science Park 25 November 2019, 6pm Gillespie Centre, Clare College, Cambridge See www.cfci.org.uk for more information and to book tickets.

Cambridge Architecture 5


© David Butler

Marmalade Lane

M

A new identity for Cambridge WORDS ANDREW DRUMMOND, ASSOCIATE, RHP

Materials and volumes create individuality within the whole

6 Cambridge Architecture

© David Butler

Simple architectural moves help Cambridge's first co-housing scheme stand out from other developments in the city. But should all houses look the same?

any thousands of words have been written already by some of the best journalists and architectural writers in the country, heralding the inventiveness and quality of Cambridge’s first cohousing scheme. The potential impact and influence that the Marmalade Lane housing development, designed by Mole Architects for developer TOWN with Trivselhus, cannot be summarised in 1,000 words – I’ve tried – which makes this article a little difficult. There are many aspects of the development that could stimulate discussion and debate about the future of housing in the UK. This article will focus on one simple architectural move that helps the development stand out from others in the city. It raises the question of identity and the relationship between those that live in a property and the fabric of the building itself. In essence, should everyone’s house look the same? Just like millions of children in the past 100 years – and no doubt many thousands of architects – I grew up in a Victorian terraced house. My home was one of 50 in a typical street in a typical market town, but


Marmalade Lane

© Andrew Drummond / RHP

Shared space at the centre of the scheme

Victorian Terrace, 1890

it was the only house on the street with a yellow front door – it was ‘my house’. When it was built, the bay-fronted terraced house was largely identical to its neighbours. A small degree of variety was evident, but essentially my street was built with 50 identical houses – same brick, same stone, same window style and the same coloured front door.. The wave of modernity through the 1960s and 1970s saw many Victorian homes ‘modernised’ by an optimistic baby boomer generation. The structure and materiality of the Victorian home made for easy customisation, encouraging personalisation driven by routine maintenance or changes in fashion. This ability to change disappeared from society in the 1980s with the rise of the uPVC front door and windows; to badly reference Henry Ford: ‘You can have any colour as long as it is white’.

Accordian Utopia

Victorian Terrace, 2019

Marmalade Lane reinterprets the terraced house model, one that has regained popularity in the city following the success of the award-winning Accordia development off Brooklands Avenue. Meredith Bowles, lead architect and founder of Mole Architects, explained: ‘The tight street structure, inventive house typologies, and restraint make it deserving of its accolades. The overriding sense is of subservience to the whole; that more than anything the creation of a neighbourhood and a sense of continuity with familiar urban patterns is what has been sought.’1 The sense that individual houses within the development are subservient to the whole is further evident in the reaction of many of its occupants early in its life to the personalisation of homes and finishes by some of their neighbours. ‘It is very vulnerable because the look of the place depends on the uniformity of the features. Once they start to change, that degrades the visual impact of the place.’2 Accordia’s success has led to most residents wanting to protect the ‘whole’ and maintain the anonymity of the repetitive units, with matching front doors, identical elevations and detailing within terraces. Conservation Area status was secured in 2013, just seven years after the completion of Phase 1.

Accordia, 2006

Marmalade Lane Marmalade Lane, 2019

“The group is cohesive, but everyone has a voice” Meredith Bowles

While the basic terrace typologies for Accordia and Marmalade Lane share the same heritage, the architectural responses to reinventing the terrace house have one key difference – the approach to identity, the differentiation of individual houses within a terrace. Research by Mole for another development in Cambridge with TOWN had generated a palette of materials that represented the history of the built fabric of the city. That research formed the basis of

Cambridge Architecture 7


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References 1 Meredith Bowles, Mole Architects, ‘Inspiring Housing #2’ by Laura Marks, AJ 7 April 2015. 2 Secretary of the Accordia Residents Association, ‘Discordant murmurs trouble Accordia’s idyll’ by Merlin Fulcher, AJ 14 March 2013.

© Jim Stephenson

A community for all ages

Should everyone’s house look the same? © David Butler

the strategy for Marmalade Lane. Meredith Bowles describes what they hoped to create at Orchard Park: 'A scheme that genuinely reflected the character of Cambridge streets, which are homogenous, but up to a point – there are always differences, and that’s what makes them interesting and gives them character; the desire to express something about the co-housing model, of individuals working as a whole. The group is cohesive, but everyone has a voice.’ Accordia’s set-piece, cohesive-whole approach echoed the Victorian terrace of 1890, with its rows of identical houses. Marmalade Lane acknowledges and reflects the Victorian terraces of 2019 – streets where houses have been adapted and personalised by generations of occupants. Mole created a palette of materials and house types for the development, a framework within which residents could choose internal layout, brick colour and front door colours. All had to be agreed before planning submission, the planners sadly not responsive to the architect’s demonstrations that any mix of the palette would achieve a similar balance and harmony in the streetscape. Most of the residents were on board before the planning submission and could, therefore, influence the design. ‘In the end, only those who bought into the scheme after planning had no choice,’ Bowles says. ‘The residents had to choose their colours – both the brick and the doors – from our palette, but without conferring! We wanted it to be without design, by us or them, so the result is genuinely random.’ Marmalade Lane is about far more than colour and texture, and, from researching and writing this article, there is no simple answer to the question of identity. The initial colour of a door is relatively superficial when compared to the life expectancy of a terraced house. Can identity truly be created without the ability to personalise? The Victorian terrace design offered a materiality that facilitates change, adaptation and personalisation without compromising style, aesthetic or community. In the meantime, Marmalade Lane is perhaps a step in the right direction, its brick palette and powder-coated metal doors offering individualism and identity for the ‘low maintenance’ generation. The most important conclusion – Marmalade Lane is not Accordia, and that is a great thing for the city. Cambridge now has a new model for housing, not just in terms of its tenure or social agenda but in terms of its materiality.

© Jim Stephenson

Marmalade Lane

The lane as shared space

Cambridge Architecture 9


Village Design Guides

© DK-CM

Going rural

Much is spoken of the housing crisis and the need to build, but little consideration is given to the character of the villages of rural England. Recognising the issue, South Cambridgeshire District Council sought to give villages a voice using Village Design Guides. Hana Loftus, introduced to SCDC via Public Practice, spoke to Cambridge Architecture about the future of the countryside

© Hana Loftus

WORDS HANA LOFTUS

Study tour with Village Design Guide community member

In the Greater Cambridge1 area, more than a third of new housing growth takes place in the rural hinterland of villages – outside the city centre, city fringe, and new settlements, such as Northstowe and Cambourne. The ideas behind rural planning, however, have remained relatively unexamined compared with the attention paid to urban and fringe schemes by architects and urbanists. Our planning orthodoxy has been to heavily restrict growth in villages generally, while releasing a limited number of larger sites on the edges of villages deemed more ‘sustainable’ due to local services such as schools and shops. Rural life continues to hold a deep-seated

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10 Cambridge Architecture

appeal for many people, but affordability for firsttime-buyers who grew up in – and want to stay in – rural areas is severe. Within South Cambridgeshire, the delay to the adoption of the Local Plan from 2013 to 2018 led to the lack of housing land supply and forced planning consents of many speculative and poorquality developments on village fringes, to the vocal dismay of residents. Contrary to popular perception, this dismay was not because rural communities are inherently anti-growth. In fact, many of the ‘unsustainable’ villages restricted by current policy from growing further are pushing for more homes to be built so that the next generation of local people can live there, and their remaining local services can be sustained by an increase in population. The opposition stemmed primarily from the lack of any genuine attempt to engage local communities with shaping where these developments should be and how they should be designed; the perceived lack of planning for services and transport provision; and the dilution of village identity in a sea of generic house designs with no relationship to the landscape or built context. In 2018-19, South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) used funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to trial the development of new design guides for villages, to try to understand what rural communities want from development in their areas. We worked with eight village communities, using a range of consultants with community facilitation and rural design experience, to understand their built character and co-design specific guidance for each village, to supplement the generic ‘urban design’ guidance presented in district-level policy. The methodology and outcomes can be read in more detail on SCDC’s website2 and in the author’s Practice Note for Public Practice3 – but one of the most interesting findings from a design perspective is the problem of ‘urban design’ as a discipline when applied to rural areas. Community members question why ‘urban design’ consultants, officers or ‘experts’ are called to comment on rural planning applications. ‘We’re not urban – we’re rural’ was a common call from participants in the Village Design Guide process whenever ‘urban design’ was used as a shorthand to describe the way that buildings, streets and spaces relate to one another. This would be a specious argument if the principles of ‘urban design’ were relevant to both urban and rural areas, but urban design courses rarely address the specific challenges of rural and fringe sites. The principles that many urban designers imbibe, which become codified in design guides and so-called ‘best practice’ – the relationship of building to street, pedestrian to car

Quantity surveying Project management Consultancy


© DK-CM

© Citizens Design Bureau

Village Design Guides

Sawston historic centre technological shifts to enable more sustainable rural lifestyles. As we move into developing the new joint Greater Cambridge Local Plan, I hope we can build on the lessons learned from the pilot Village Design Guides to embed better rural planning principles that meet this challenge – but we also need rural developers to work with us. As the city has developed some outstanding exemplars of progressive urban design, we should press landowners to invest in rural development models that look forward and that extend the distinctive rural character of our villages.

© Emily Greeves Architects

References 1 In this article, Greater Cambridge is used to mean the combined area of Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council – the area covered by the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service and now preparing a joint Local Plan for the first time. 2 www.scambs.gov.uk/villagedesign 3 www.publicpractice.org.uk/resources/growing-villages

Aerial photograph of Sawston in 1948 showing housing developments under construction user, landmark buildings and background buildings – are often inappropriate for village locations. The lack of expertise in the specific problems of rural design leaves a vacuum into which developers step with their standardised house types and profitable layouts, and where planners go by the ‘urban design’ handbook when attempting to improve them. The result is the lamentable quality of the new housing, unpopular with communities and detracting from the distinctive character of the rural landscape. Our rural communities are ambitious about design, environmentalism and the potential of An illustration from the Swavesey Village Design Guide showing key strategies for village planning

Excellence in Engineering

K J TA I T ENGINEERS Cambridge Architecture 11


Mill Road Butchers

A model for the high street of the future? Mill Road Butchers is offering a clue to what is needed for a new kind of high street WORDS MARK CLARKE, DIRECTOR, CHADWICK DRYER CLARKE STUDIO

A

t the time of writing, Mill Road is in a bit of a fix. Orange traffic barriers and tape criss-cross the road, yellow signs warn of diversions and closures, and pedestrians and cyclists weave past Heras fencing. Not only has the bridge been closed temporarily, but the gas main is being replaced along the length of the road, while a fire at the shop of H Gee means a section of the road is cordoned off completely. Amid this visual chaos stands Mill Road Butchers, proudly wrapping the corner of Mill Road and Devonshire Road. A bead curtain hangs in the door: it is open for business. Its resilience is astonishing. A butcher’s is believed to have sat on this corner since the 1900s, acquired by a Polish butcher after World War II and, more recently, owned and managed by Gary Howlett. Its long history was all too visible in its buildings, which fell into gradual disrepair, the old smoke house and cold stores behind the shop on Devonshire Road providing a dilapidated gateway to visitors walking from the railway station. The owner decided to sell the freehold of the site to raise money for improvements while retaining their interest as a tenant. The developer that acquired the site, Redberry Inns, had recently worked on the Royal Standard pub, just over the bridge in Romsey, and it approached Studio 24 architects to consider options for this

12 Cambridge Architecture

tricky, small site, given their experience of similar projects in the city. Discussing the project with Mark Richards, of Studio 24, recently, it seems that the early concept design was fairly mutable and different ways of developing the site were explored. The final solution consolidated the butcher’s cold storage, prep rooms and counters towards the front of the site on Mill Road, leaving the rear half free for residential development. This offered the financial driver for the scheme, with the new dwellings effectively funding the restoration of the shop.

Local support

The Mill Road community was supportive of the proposals. Project information and questionnaires were put out for customers, who wrote letters of support and offered their thoughts. This became evidence for the pre-planning consultation with the planning officers, but it was clear that this scheme was always going to be received positively: a long-standing local business wanting to cement its future on Mill Road was enormously important for the council. Of key concern, however, was

“The care taken in its design and construction is clearly visible”


The butcher's shop has long been a fixture on the corner of Mill Road and Devonshire Road

Cambridge Architecture 13

Š Michael Cameron Photography

Mill Road Butchers


Stansted | Bristol | Nottingham

Image Š PIP Architecture

Stansted: Unit 1, The Exchange, 9 Station Road, Stansted, CM24 8BE Bristol: 1 Host Street Bristol, BS1 5BU Nottingham: 3 Newcastle Chambers, Angel Row Nottingham, NG1 2FZ

www.lizlake.com


Mill Road Butchers

the character of the development and the quality of the new spaces. To the rear of the site, the new dwellings take the form of two-storey, single-bedroom houses, each with fully glazed front doors at street level, accessed via covered entry courts containing bike storage. This is strongly defensible space, important on a road facing a pub and heavily trafficked by pedestrians. Kitchens and living spaces are located at ground floor, with bedroom and shower room above, the bathrooms expressed as zinc-shingle-clad ‘pods’. With the input of the planning officers, each dwelling has a balcony accessed from the bedroom. How well used these will be depends on the confidence of the residents, but they offer enough space, potentially, to get a table and a couple of chairs on them. Adjacent to these dwellings is a narrow passageway with a neat steel staircase rising to a first-floor apartment. What could be a forbidding approach is alleviated by daylight falling down the staircase, highlighting the texture of the facing brickwork. A further apartment is accessed above the shop from Mill Road, again via its own front door – and it feels like the right decision to have individual access to each dwelling rather than from a central staircase; a residential door next to a shopfront is very Mill Road. The dwellings are not entirely autonomous, however; a sliding timber gate on Devonshire Road hides a communal bin store, and post is delivered to centralised letterboxes.

The new dwellings have balconies accessible from the bedroom, with room for a table and two chairs

Turning a corner

It is the dark-blue-painted shop, with its bold new signage, that is the greatest success of the project. Despite the original shopfront being narrowed, it has been raised with a new prominent fascia, creating a much stronger corner to the street. The butcher’s glazed counter fully spans the width of the shop and allows meat to be covered and left overnight, greatly reducing the time spent previously by staff packing the meats away into the cold store at the end of a day. Behind the counter is a cold store that contains the carcasses. Richards recounts how they considered fully glazing and lighting this cold store so that the hanging meat would be on show; such theatre would have no doubt added to the visual variety available along the road. All of this was only possible by the removal of a twisting old staircase in the middle of the shop unit to free up use of the space. A relocated staircase was provided down into a newly tanked basement, which contains the bulk of the cold storage. The substantial work that has gone into making this an efficiently functioning retail space should not be underestimated. Earlier this year, the development of 114 Mill Road picked up the Cambridge Design and Construction Award for Best Alteration or Extension of an Existing

Internal volumes reflect the care taken in the contemporary design

Bathrooms in the new dwellings are expressed as zinc-shingle-clad 'pods'

Building, and the care taken in its design and construction is clearly visible. An original cast-iron downpipe has been cut down to a new level, repainted and reused. Victorian tiling beneath the shopfront has been copied and manufactured in its original format and glaze, enabling the new shopfront to more convincingly wrap the corner. Brickwork has been selected and detailed to differentiate new work from old. Window reveals are thinly picked out in aluminium. This sort of work requires enormous energy, trust and diligence from all parties, and suggests an effective working relationship between architect, developer and contractor. This is all to the benefit of Mill Road. There is much talk of the death of the High Street, but this sort of development perhaps provides a clue to a new kind of street, which – funnily enough – is an old one. A street where businesses want to stay and the community wants them to; where housing and retail together increase footfall and opportunities for investment; and where history is respected as a framework for the future.

Cambridge Architecture 15


Cambridge Mosque

Breath of the compassionate

Ten years after Marks Barfield won the invited competition, the new Cambridge mosque opened in May, in time for Ramadan. Nigel Walter takes a look WORDS NIGEL WALTER, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF ARCH:ANGEL ARCHITECTS

16 Cambridge Architecture


© All images by Morley von Sternberg

Cambridge Mosque

S

itting on the north side of Mill Road, on the site of the former Robert Sayle warehouse, the new Cambridge mosque makes a good first impression. A formal garden, a glimpse of paradise, breaks the Victorian terraced feel of this part of Romsey, offering a powerful gesture of welcome and a rich addition to the streetscape.

The character of the Cambridge mosque prayer hall is shaped by the 16 laminated timber ‘trees’

The building

Above a concrete parking basement, the building unfolds in four principal stages. The first is the garden and a portico produced by setting the glazed entrance screen one bay into the building, creating a covered transition space at the entrance that is typical of many styles of mosque. Once inside, the second stage comprises public-facing rooms – the central marblefloored atrium, flanked by a meeting space to the west and a café to the east. The orientation of the prayer hall towards Mecca is fixed and offset from the geometry of the site by 17°; this offset is taken up in the third section of the plan, comprising a lobby with male and female ablution areas. Earlier iterations of the design placed the entire building on a single geometry; the built arrangement is preferable, allowing more composure to the entrance garden that so successfully frames the building as a whole. After the relatively confined lobby between the two geometries, the space expands into the final stage, the prayer hall,

32m x 32m and with the ceiling at 8.1m. To the rear (west) of this is a mothers’ and toddlers’ room, with a gallery above overlooking the main space. The mihrab – the niche orientating worshippers towards Mecca – and 10 large roundels on the prayer-hall walls will enrich the space once completed. The character of the prayer hall is shaped by the sculptural form of the 16 eye-catching laminated timber ‘trees’, above each of which is a circular rooflight, the vertical sides perforated for extract ventilation. Artificial (LED) lighting is incorporated in a corona beneath each rooflight. It is these ’trees’ that are the organising principle and signature of the building. With the exception of some peripheral spaces – which include two three-bedroom houses – the entire plan is lit through the roof, helping to create an even light and a calm feel.

Symbolism and sustainability

The garden and portico create a welcoming presence on Mill Road

The trees are one example of the wealth of symbolism woven into the design, which will go unnoticed by many casual visitors, but which is central to the building’s success, both aesthetically and as a place of worship. For example, ‘the Breath of the Compassionate’ is the name of the eight-pointed star pattern of the marble atrium floor; the phrase, from the 13thcentury Sufi scholar Ibn Arabî, is a powerful metaphor for God’s creation of the material world. The same geometrical device feeds through into other aspects of the building.

Cambridge Architecture 17


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As part of our plans for growth, PBA, now part of Stantec, has relocated to a new office in central Cambridge. We have a long history of working with our clients in and around Cambridge to design communities fit for the future. We are involved in promoting the Oxford to Cambridge corridor, as well as many high profile development projects in the region, including: Waterbeach Barracks and Airfield, Eddington in the North West of the City, and the Land North of Cherry Hinton. Within the City we continue to support the Colleges of the University of Cambridge with projects at Corpus Chisti and Sidney Sussex. Find our new address, and more about our work in the area at: peterbrett.com/locations/cambridge


Cambridge Mosque

Meanwhile, the patterned brickwork visible externally to the front and rear repeats the name of God in stylised Arabic script. The building also delivers on a strong commitment to sustainability. Above basement level, construction is relatively low carbon; the walls are of laminated timber, comprising a 70mm cross-laminate inner layer with 330mm mineral-wool insulation between glulam columns, with brick tile cladding externally. Air source heat pumps feed underfloor heating and cooling, working with a 115m2 photovolatic array; this means there are no emissions on site. Rainwater is harvested from those roofs not covered with sedum, and used for toilet flushing and irrigation. The integration into the design of these sustainability measures is well managed, adding a technological dimension to the ‘breath’ symbolism.

The gilded dome is richly symbolic, directing worshippers thoughts and lives towards God

The prayer hall is orientated towards Mecca and offset from the geometry of the site by 17°

A new face

Viewed as a piece of architecture, this building has a strong central idea, but this is compromised by moments of conservatism, such as the gilded dome and the Moorish crenellations. For some from outside the tradition, these will sit incongruously, at odds with an otherwise modern design. From within that tradition, the dome is richly symbolic of the purpose of the building, in directing worshippers’ thoughts and lives towards God. The building succeeds best when closest to its core idea of the oasis, which gives the face of the building its character, with the paradise garden – which then transitions into the tree structure of the building – and on into the interior, in a process of phased engagement. It is at its most eloquent at the threshold, at the interface with the community, mediating between the public realm and its religious functions with skill and elegance, drawing in the visitor. At a reported £25m, its cost may be high, but for a building intended to last for the long term, and which creates a symbol of Muslim identity in Cambridge and nationally, it is a great success. Perhaps its most significant achievement lies in giving the Cambridgeshire Muslim community a new face: unmistakably Islamic, while speaking of its time and place. This building is as much a cultural as an architectural achievement. As Dr Tim Winter – imam of the mosque and son of the architect John Winter – said in the planning documentation, the design ‘acknowledges Islam as an ongoing tradition, not as a cultural fossil’. Modernity, following Edmund Burke, too readily equates tradition with conservatism. This building, for the most part, champions a more nuanced view of tradition, creating a richly layered place for dialogue – for example, bringing its normally enclosed garden, representing paradise, to the street for all to share. This is a landmark building and a worthy addition to the architecture of Cambridge, from which all of us can learn.

The external patterned brickwork repeats the name of God in stylised Arabic script

“The connection between the horizontal and the vertical, which is the symbolic message of a sacred building, is effected by a quiet celebration of the miracle of nature, and the ability of faith to detect mathematical order within it” Tim Winter

Cambridge Architecture 19


Student awards

Top of the class The CAA is proud to support the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture annual student awards recognising the outstanding achievements of undergraduates WORDS SUSIE LOBER

Barbara Urmossy

Anderson Webb Prize for the Year 1 student displaying the greatest all-round ability The project designed for a plot in Ashwin Street, Dalston, aims to popularise aerial silk acrobatics by giving the public access to view it from every angle and from a multitude of distances. It functions as a practice space by day and a performance venue by night. The outer form follows the inner layout of stairs and ramps, resulting in this unconventional shape. The only opening is a roof window, which is mirrored by the glass floor of the performance space, forming a well of light illuminating the ground-floor tunnel running through the building.

Max Cooper-Clark

Cambridge Association of Architects Prize for the Year 2 student displaying the greatest all-round ability There are two industrial edifices in Rainham. One is an amalgam of corrugated boxes and paper storage units, but the other is a far more subtle construction. Once simply part of the Thames, its apparently natural mass has been sculpted by silt dredging, pylon construction and firing ranges. However, these impositions have led to a serious degradation of the wetland, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). My proposal uses wind and cows to passively disperse rare seeds back onto the marsh, a process known as allochory, which aims to rebalance this ecosystem.

20 Cambridge Architecture


Student awards

Jian Lin Wong

Purcell Miller Triton Prize for exceptional drawing ability Alongside its industrial facilities, Coldham’s Dairy runs a canteen and after-school programme for local children. The project transforms the northern tip of an existing Cambridge big-box retail park into pasture land, linking the site to the city’s network of commons. In response to early research, the scheme draws on Cambridge’s uniquely pastoral urban condition and addresses the relatively high levels of child risk in Abbey ward (in which the project is located) by providing an engaging learning space, where children might also gain greater awareness of food and nature.

Eva Barnett

David Roberts Prize for dissertation The Beehive Brewery examines the functions of a modern brewery and traditional inn to create a new communal hub. Stages of the brewing process are linked to a communal purpose in a series of buildings, offering different levels of interaction for each type of visitor. The building’s form, structure and public space are driven by the tanks, to create an intrinsic connection between the public and private areas while allowing the mess of a brewery to remain controlled. Key to the project is the courtyard. Overhead pipes and hops direct this space, offering an interaction with the brewery beyond just the buildings.

Cambridge Architecture 21


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18/09/2019 12:04


Eddington

We need to talk about Eddington © Jack Hobhouse

It’s not often Cambridge Architecture receives mail from readers about articles, but the publication of CA77, featuring Eddington on the cover, seemed to spark some interest. David Adams asked Jonathan Rose, of Aecom, and Roger Pollard – retired former principal and co-founder at Pollard Thomas Edwards – about their views on the University of Cambridge’s newest development WORDS DAVID ADAMS

‘The Vision for the North West Cambridge Development is to create a new district and extension to the city, centred around a mixed academic and urban community: a place that is sustainable, long-lasting and ambitious, offering a high quality of life to enhance both the city and the university’ – Vision for Eddington, University of Cambridge, 2012.1

© Jack Hobhouse

After the publication of CA77 – for which the CAA commissioned an aerial view of Eddington for the front cover, courtesy of the rather talented Richard Fraser – the editors were contacted by a member of the public, who wished to discuss the architecture of Eddington and offered a rather contrasting view. In the editors’ experience, contrasting views

Sustainable transport is integral to Eddington

are somewhat rare; and the subject well worthy of exploration given its scale and complexity. The topic of architectural debate about Eddington was met enthusiastically by Jonathan Rose, masterplanning practice leader at AECOM Design and Planning in London, with the contrasting views raised by Roger Pollard, former principal and co-founder at Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects. Debate in architecture can be a delicate business, but it is a founding principle for how we organise our society. Talking about the spaces

in which we live and work is key to developing a sense of who we are and how we might live, now and in the future. With housing pressure high in Cambridge, we need to ask ourselves in what sort of place we want to live, if the most recent developments met our expectations, and if there are lessons to be learned that might inform future such creative endeavours. Eddington itself is a vast undertaking; it represents dozens of different and separate developments that, together, form a whole urban creation. But does the nature of modern procurement limit the ability of urban design to take on interesting, interlocking or historic forms? Does sustainability enable and inspire new design forms or limit creativity? These are the questions that should be asked of an awardwinning development, feted as an example of high-achieving design. The central question is: does Eddington represent an aspiration for other new developments in Cambridge, or the inability of modern procurement methods to create nuanced spaces? 1

Our Vision, University of Cambridge, 2012

Storey’s Field Community Centre

Cambridge Architecture 23


© Jack Hobhouse

Eddington

WORDS JONATHAN ROSE RIBA

Eddington – what kind of place?

© Jack Hobhouse

balance can be achieved in the post-industrial city. The fourth ‘C’ frames the question of ‘Character’ – one of the most demanding architectural questions in the Cambridge context. The university’s Quality & Sustainability panel’s invitation was to consider more deeply ‘what kind of place’ Eddington will be. For example, sociability is written into the fabric of community at Eddington, whether in the major new public open spaces and landscapes or at the private thresholds, in garden courts and more intimate, shared balconies. It also includes an Architectural Framework setting overall themes around ‘materials’, the ‘technological complex’ generating a modern vernacular and ‘nature’ – how buildings and places integrate positively with the natural environment and the unique and beautiful landscapes of Cambridge. This rhetorical, open question also invites exploration of what it means to create a contemporary architecture, authentic to our time and to Cambridge as a place. ‘What we perceive as present is the vivid fringe of memory, tinged with anticipation’2 – a final, passing thought from one of Eddington’s Cambridge peers. Jonathan Rose is an architect and design principal for the masterplan at Eddington. He is masterplanning practice leader at AECOM Design and Planning in London, supporting the university to develop the vision, the brief and the process by which a new piece of city is being created for Cambridge at Eddington

Urban character in Eddington

24 Cambridge Architecture

2

The Concept of Nature, Alfred North Whitehead, 1920

Integrating natural systems © Jack Hobhouse

The university’s Vision for Eddington immediately raises the question of place. It also challenges every architect involved to consider how, in a modern context, their work can contribute positively to the much-loved city of Cambridge. Cambridgeshire Quality Panel’s ‘4 Cs’ offer a helpful way to organise a response. Determinedly, the Masterplan takes seriously the ‘Climate’ imperative, balancing the development of muchneeded affordable homes with enhancements to the natural environment. This combines a stringent, very low-carbon performance brief, with new habitat creation supporting biodiversity repair. The site-wide rainwater recovery and recycling system is one example of the approach to the careful management of resources. The new townscape of Eddington’s urban centre makes walking delightful, while integrating safe cycle movement and new bus routes to maximise wider ‘Connectivity’. In terms of building ‘Community’, the university’s commitment to an open and welcoming city is also impressive. It includes providing the UK’s first teacher-training primary school, the exquisite Storey’s Field Centre, and amenities for everyday life – a supermarket, a hotel with a restaurant and rooftop bar, and independent local shops, all offering something to the surrounding community. Phase 1 is driven by the need to create genuinely affordable homes for key workers in Cambridge’s flourishing knowledge economy and this university priority shows a more resilient social

Enhancing the natural environment

“To create a contemporary architecture, authentic to our time and to Cambridge”


© Roger Pollard

© 2019 Eddington Cambridge

Eddington

Swirles Court, Eddington Streetscape at Eddington WORDS ROGER POLLARD

Lost in translation

Driving south along the M11, you get a glimpse of the university’s latest emerging development, Eddington. It has a stark, almost despotic appearance that puzzles me. Ten years ago, I was one of the interested locals who, mindful of the university’s fame – and of its Department of Architecture’s reputation for research – felt privileged to attend the consultation and development meetings. Conscious of the debate about the lack of architectural beauty in contemporary building design, I went to have a closer look. I drove my car, via the city road, north towards the A14 and turned left into the site along a grand road leading me into the centre – but I was soon halted by rising bollards and had to find somewhere to park to continue on foot. I found it bewildering and unpleasant: the groundscape overwhelmingly hard, the architecture stern and cheerless. The architects who designed various sections seemingly struggled to collaborate and, where their work meets at a shared intersection, an ugly mating of juvenile elements takes place: the gas-mask windows; the mighty and unnecessary cantilevers; the sudden timber facings. Only climate-change issues and elevational veneers are thought important. Within the forum are the amorphous forms of Sainsbury’s and Argos instead of sheltering colonnades forming a visual enclosure. Potential squares and courtyards remain unresolved and semi-private communal space is lost. Why are these spaces that Cambridge’s university colleges

have in abundance so deliberately missing? Is it a mistake, or a desire to spite conventional practice? The TV series Impossible Engineering Made Possible shows how – by building upon ingenious solutions from the past – practical solutions can be found for the future. For example, the London Square – with four- to six-storey buildings surrounding a semi-private garden for residents– the ancient skill of ‘poche’, now lost or derided, is used to knit architectural elements together. The Cambridge College format also offers an excellent example of dividing public and private space. If modern research is directed to social cohesion, why has it turned its back on ways that architecture has contributed to it? Roger Pollard is the retired former principal and co-founder at Pollard Thomas Edwards

“An ugly mating of juvenile elements takes place: the gas-mask windows; unnecessary cantilevers; sudden timber facings”

Examples of primary and secondary poché

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Climate crisis

Planning for tomorrow’s weather An architect for more than 30 years and a city councillor for two, Katie Thornburrow examines how the global climate crisis will shape new schemes

working environments, or public buildings that are fit for purpose. North-facing façade of the Guildhall on 25 July 2019

WORDS AND PHOTOS KATIE THORNBURROW

T

he Met Office recently confirmed that a temperature reading of 38.7ºC from the Botanic Garden in Cambridge on July 251 is the highest ever recorded in the UK. Cambridge holds many records, but this is not one we should be proud of, because it is one more indication that the extreme weather conditions forecast as a result of human-caused changes to our climate are already happening, and that we can expect more. In fact, it’s unlikely that we’ll hold this particular record for long, and temperatures could have increased further by the time you read this. This is because we’re now experiencing the real impact of global warming that many of us have been talking about for decades, and the sorts of weather events that bring unprecedented temperatures in Cambridge and flash flooding in Swaledale,2 are going to become more and more common. This has enormous implications for architecture. For one thing, it means that many of the assumptions we make when we design buildings cannot be relied upon – there will be stronger winds, temperature extremes, and changes to the water table, for example. The specifications we draw up will need to adapt to these new conditions if we are to provide homes people can live in with comfort, offices that offer suitable

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The new normal

I know of local developments that conform to current regulations, but the homes overheat, because the regulations were based on weather patterns for the last 50 years that are simply no longer applicable.3 And in other cases, grey water schemes and other adaptations were removed to cut costs and will now be very expensive to retrofit as we respond to water shortages and temperature extremes. I’ve been an architect for more than 30 years, and a Labour member of Cambridge City Council for nearly two. My two worlds now overlap, as I’m the executive councillor for planning policy and open spaces, with a remit to deliver sustainable development for Cambridge and help shape the next Greater Cambridge Local Plan. As the council has recently declared both a climate emergency4 and a biodiversity emergency,5 I am setting policy in ways that will help us deal with the impact of both. That means evaluating all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown and encouraging developers to adopt this approach. As we are building hundreds of new council houses, it means putting these principles in place for our own developments. Cambridge is a wonderful city but it faces many challenges, not least a large number of historically important buildings whose fabric cannot easily be adapted to deal with the coming changes; lots of new developments that were designed and built before we realised just how seriously we needed to take this issue; and a growing population that will put great pressure on limited natural resources such as water.


Climate crisis

Shady narrow street in Cambridge, also on 25 July 2019, the hottest day ever recorded in the UK

Extinction Rebellion march on King's Parade demanding urgent action in the face of the climate emergency

The green ceiling

As we think about the future development of Cambridge, we are constrained by national planning guidance, and although we have ambitious plans, we quickly hit what I call the ‘green ceiling’ – the limit to our powers as a local authority to demand adaptations in response to climate change. But we can persuade, cajole and inspire, and this can be surprisingly effective especially since the public mood seems to have shifted as a result of the work of David Attenborough, Blue Planet,6 Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion7 and others. It can be small scale, like encouraging people to put hedgehog doorways in fences, or larger scale like moving away from gas as a utility, because everything makes a difference. However, for this to be effective we need architects to come up with schemes that take the new reality into account, offering creative solutions to the problem that will enhance the built environment, support nature, cope with weather extremes that are the ‘new normal’ and, of course, remove our dependency on the carbon economy.8 This is a challenge to which we should all be ready to rise. As an architect, I’ve been thinking this way for much of my career, and now, as a councillor, I’m trying to make sure that the planning system in Cambridge, at least, is receptive to these new ways of thinking. Because it’s getting hot in here.

References 1 h  ttps://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/cambridgeuniversity-botanic-garden-records-highestever-uk-temperature/ 2 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-yorknorth-yorkshire-49164275 3 h  ttps://ggbec.co.uk/10-ways-stay-coolsecrets-reducing-overheating 4 h  ttps://www.cambridge.gov.uk/ news/2019/02/22/cambridge-city-councildeclares-climate-emergency 5 h  ttps://www.cambridge.gov.uk/biodiversityemergency 6 h  ttps://ggbec.co.uk/10-ways-stay-coolsecrets-reducing-overheating 7 h  ttps://rebellion.earth/ 8 h  ttps://www.cat.org.uk/info-resources/zerocarbon-britain/

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Cambridge Design and Construction Awards

The prize draw The Cambridge Design and Construction Awards were presented by the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI) and Cambridge City Council earlier this year to a range of exciting projects in and around the city. Congratulations to all who made the shortlist – and, of course, the winners! Best New Building – Small

The winner of the best new building less than £2m construction cost was a residential property in Sedgwick Street. This well-designed scheme had to overcome many constraints because of its location within the tightly developed streets of the Mill Road area, and its approach to sustainability and energy use has resulted in an efficient and attractive addition to the streetscene.

Craftsmanship

Two projects were joint winners of the Craftsmanship Award, for their innovative use of materials: the Dorothy Garrod Building, Newnham College, and Storey’s Field Centre.

Best New Building – Large

The best building more than £2m construction cost was the Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington. The judging panel especially liked its carefully designed interior spaces and the creativity in the use of brick for the exterior.

Best New Landscape

For the first time, an award was presented for the best new landscape, and went to The Rising Path at Cambridge University Botanic Garden. This educational and landscape feature was described by the judging panel as ‘an utter delight’ and fully meets its brief of creating a viewing platform for the garden’s systematic beds. The route up the path, which rises gently to the viewing platform, is an evolving journey that is as much part of the landscape as the important beds themselves.

Conservation, Alteration or Extension of an Existing Building

There were two winners in this category this year. Best Conservation project went to the restoration of the Founder’s Entrance Hall lantern at the Fitzwilliam Museum – a project that sets a very high standard in conservation, appropriate to this important public building. The best Alteration or Extension was 114 Mill Road, a butcher’s shop with residential accommodation to the rear accessed from Devonshire Road. The judges considered that the shop had been sympathetically restored and improved, with the residential extension to the rear making a positive addition to the street in terms of design and materials.

Craftsmanship Award: the Dorothy Garrod Building, Newnham College, by Walters & Cohen Architects

Engineering and Sustainability

For this award, three schemes stood out. Storey’s Field Centre, The Rising Path and Lot A in Eddington were all applauded for their approach to engineering and sustainability, but in different ways. The philosophy behind how the building needed to work drove the sustainability and engineering credentials of Storey’s Field Centre, while the innovative water management at Lot A was described as an excellent example to set for other large-scale developments. According to the judges, the lightness of touch with the detailing and aesthetics of The Rising Path shows how a modern structure can be successfully inserted into a sensitive area.

Best New Building – Large: Storey’s Field Centre, by MUMA Craftsmanship and Engineering and Sustainability Awards: Storey’s Field Centre, by MUMA

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Cambridge Design and Construction Awards

Best New Landscape and Engineering and Sustainability Awards: The Rising Path, by Chadwick Dryer Clarke Studio

Engineering and Sustainability Awards: Lot A, Eddington, by AECOM

© Alan Williams

© Alan Williams

Best Alteration or Extension Award: Mill Road Butchers, by Studio24 Architects

Best Conservation Award: Founder’s Entrance Hall and Lantern, Fitzwilliam Museum, by AMA Architects

Best New Building – Small: 73 Sedgwick Street, by Mole Architects

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28/01/2019 16:20:10


Form the Future

Making a difference © Oggi Tomic

WORDS ANNE BAILEY, CEO, FORM THE FUTURE

With the CITB estimating another 24,550 construction workers are needed in the East of England by 2023, a new collaboration between Form The Future and the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI) has come at the right time. The partnership provides support, experience and opportunities for people aged 12–18 in the Cambridge area considering careers in the built environment. By linking CFCI members and local schools, the project aims to overturn preconceptions that students may have about careers in construction, and open their eyes to the vast range of jobs the industry can offer, creating a talent pipeline for local employers. Anne Bailey, CEO of Form the Future, said: ‘We are really excited to work with CFCI members to show students the breadth of career opportunities in construction. There’s so much more than they think and it’s one of the fastest-growing sectors in our region.’ CFCI trustee Bob Ensch said: ‘For the past few years, CFCI has been looking for ways to help its members to find new talent, as many businesses in the industry locally have been finding it difficult to recruit young people. We really believe that the partnership with Form the Future provides this; it will make a real difference for us, and we encourage our members to participate.’

“The CFCI has been looking for ways to help its members find new talent... the partnership with Form the Future will make a real difference” Through this partnership, Form the Future is sharing work experience and apprenticeships with young people, offering a stepping stone into the construction industry. The scheme includes careers events at schools and unique EcoHub days, when pupils are challenged to design sustainable classrooms and school grounds with the help of industry volunteers, to connect students with employers. More than 200 students took part in the first two of six planned EcoHub days, at Bottisham Village

College and The Netherhall School, supported by volunteers from companies including AKT II, Hoare Lea, MCW Architects, Morgan Sindall, Ramboll, and the A14. Daniel Carlson, from The Netherhall School, said: ‘The students really enjoyed it and gained a huge amount from the experience. It was a real pleasure watching the presentations and seeing the quality of thought and work that had been put into them. It was astonishing what they managed to achieve in such a short time. What was particularly encouraging was seeing students stepping up and executing so proficiently their allocated roles.’ There are four more EcoHub days planned this year, and architects and other professionals are needed for each event. Anyone interested in making a difference and inspiring someone into a career in the built environment should contact Form the Future (www.formthefuture.org.uk) to find out how to get involved. Form the Future CIC is an award-winning Cambridge-based social enterprise. It delivers the apprenticeship service for the Greater Cambridge Partnership. It also runs Cambridge LaunchPad for local STEM employers, offers an impartial careers advice service, and supports work experience programmes at more than 20 schools.

Cambridge Architecture 31


Cambridge Development Forum

Creating communities In May, attendees to the Cambridgeshire Development Forum considered and debated how to deliver more successful new communities in the years ahead; looking to increase the quantity and the quality of new schemes across the region WORDS LORD LANSLEY

Involving planners, councillors, architects, developers, builders and advisers from several disciplines, the ‘brainstorm’ approach to questions, after compelling presentations from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Design Council and LDA Design, gave impressive insights into how this process should be structured for the future. In this short article, I want to highlight three conclusions that I found useful in thinking about the future new settlements we must create in our region. First, the vision for a new community must be owned by the community. Currently, there is no community in the design stage. The democratic input is vital, both to national and local policies, but how are we to reflect the interests of the community from the earliest stages, through the life of this community? The Local Planning Authority (LPA) can do this by creating Citizen’s Panels: structured groups can be involved right from the decisions on sites with ‘permission in principle’ in local plans, through to consultations on the design brief (masterplan) stage. Communities can have input to the principles driving the vision: sustainability, biodiversity and the environment; future-proofing; health and wellbeing; and in defining the ‘sense of place’ and its character.  Second, it is clear that diversity can be a central driving force in creating sustainable and successful communities, in several respects: ● Diversity  of people: real communities include extended families, long-term residents, incomers,

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Cambridge Development Forum

into quality of design, infrastructure and homes. As a forum, we found this workshop valuable for the further practical suggestions about improving the processes for planning and design. The government is looking for these ideas in an engagement process of its own, and we were glad of its involvement throughout this event and for taking the ideas on board. We want to see more homes delivered, more quickly, more effectively, and

“We want to see more homes delivered, more quickly, more effectively”

for us to do so with quality design that achieves successful and sustainable communities of which we can be proud. Cambridgeshire has some great developments and some that you could not differentiate from anywhere else across the country. We are leaders in Cambridgeshire in so many ways; this workshop gave us great ideas for how we can carry forward that leadership into our design of new settlements in this, Britain’s fastest-growing area.  The Cambridgeshire Development Forum looks forward to working with colleagues across Cambridgeshire to make this happen. Lord Lansley – the former South Cambs MP Andrew Lansley – is chair of the Cambridgeshire Development Forum, and this article reflects his personal views following the ‘Design for Living’ workshop. The CDF does not express a corporate view, and these views should not be regarded as representing the views of any specific CDF member company.

the well-off, the ‘just getting by,’ the young, middle-aged and older people  Diversity of tenure: owner-occupied; social rented; shared equity; buy to rent; rent to buy; affordable homes; and privately rented  Diversity of housing types: communities show a sense of place, recognising vernacular styles, with recognition of how settlements, such as market towns, have developed over generations, and have responded to the topography of their location and the neighbouring settlements  Diversity of providers and developers: public and private sector, social housing providers, SME as well as large-scale development and builders; with flexibility in allocating plots and sectors to support creative development ideas, embracing future-proof designs (garages that can be converted to homes as mobility changes); and accepting custom-build and self-build, not just in peripheral locations. 

Third, building a sustainable and successful community requires trust. Trust between the LPA and promoter/developer; trust in the integrity of the consultation and engagement; trust in processes that must be simplified and accelerated to deliver the homes we need; and trust in a viability assessment that delivers the support for infrastructure, community facilities and services, and affordable homes. It must also act as an incentive to landowners and developers, recognising the realities of cost and market uncertainties (remembering that, often, the profit is in the last 10 per cent of housing sold, as long as it is sold); and for each party to buy

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RIBA East Regional Awards

Designed for success © Jack Hobhouse

Pavilion Extension

Architect Practice: Ashworth Parkes Architects Ltd Client & Contractor: RM Construction Ltd

RIBA East Award & RIBA National Award winner

Water is collected across the landscape at Eddington

Eddington Masterplan

Practice: AECOM Design & Planning Client: University of Cambridge Masterplanning, particularly for housing, is an increasingly common aspect of architects’ work, and Eddington is an interesting and ambitious case in point, creating an entirely new quarter for Cambridge. Communal sustainability is a clear objective of the development including a combined heat and power system and collection of water run-off to be recycled for domestic semi-potable use, and careful control of the car; all laudable achievements, providing a blueprint for contemporary developments. Prioritising the pedestrian and bicycle user over the car has made all parts of the development feel safe and unthreatening, and measures are in place for this to be maintained as the development grows. This project has risen to the high aspirations set in the brief and is an exemplar for new developments. Many of the pioneering features of sustainable communal living explored in Eddington are desperately needed in the 21st century.

34 Cambridge Architecture

A brise soleil with mild steel louvres adds to the visual lightness of the eaves

Just a pocket-sized project – a kitchen conservatory extension – this project fits the description of a small and perfectly formed gem. The client is a builder who wanted to demonstrate his skills; not to impress potential clients, or the world in general, but simply for his own pleasure. Ruskin defined art as being the expression of pleasure humans derive from doing work, and, by that standard, this building is a work of art. Formed with two cruciform columns, faced in polished stainless steel, supporting a waffle of flitched timber beams, the extension’s roof appears to float. The clean lines are preserved as the structure is wrapped in storey-height, frameless glazing interrupted only by one large sliding door. The whole is exquisitely finished. This project demonstrates a striking harmony between designer, architect and builder, and an infectious pride in what had been achieved.

Architect Practice: MCW Architects Client: ACE Foundation Contractor: TJ Evers This is an impressive project uniting disparate parts and phases, carried out as and when funds are available, to make a convincing and coherent whole. An extension into the courtyard along the central range represents the main newbuild element in this scheme. Effectively a corridor running by the side of existing outbuildings, it provides a transparent and welcoming entrance composition and acts as a foyer for the 60-seat concert hall built in an earlier phase. To the architect’s credit, complex level changes have been resolved with a subtlety that means they feel natural and unforced. Meeting rooms and education/display spaces flow one to the other, and are themselves well proportioned, useful spaces. The clever way that a new use has been found for a large range of old buildings can be considered a significant contribution to the care, maintenance and positive representation of the past. © Jim Stephenson

WORDS BY JON GREENFIELD, RIBA EAST REGIONAL AWARD JURY CHAIR

Stapleford Granary

The simplicity of the extension provides a harmonious companion to the cleaned-up brick spaces it serves © Matthew Smith

With a record 18 winning projects in the RIBA East Awards 2019, nine of which went on to receive RIBA National Awards, the benchmark has been raised for architecture in the East once again. In this edition, we shine a spotlight on the winning projects designed by architects based in the region


© David Butler

RIBA East Regional Awards

Marmalade Lane offers many pointers for enlightened housing projects in the future

RIBA East Award & Project Architect of the Year Award winner

RIBA East Award & RIBA National Award winner

Eaton Socon Pre-School

Architect Practice: Mole Architects Client: TOWN and Trivselhus with Cambridge Cohousing Contractor: Coulson Building Group

RIBA East Award & RIBA National Award winner

The street elevation has depth and richness

Eddington, Lot 1, North West Cambridge Architect practice: WilkinsonEyre with Mole Architects Client: University of Cambridge Contractor: BAM

Occupying the centre of the Eddington Masterplan, this was a complex brief with a number of potentially conflicting elements including a superstore, energy centre, doctor’s surgery, offices, and a variety of housing types, majoring on affordable units. In response to this, it is appropriate that two architects collaborated to deliver the project. Flats around an intimate southern courtyard are largely deck access, generous enough to provide buffer space to windows, while single-aspect duplex units are double stacked along one of the superstore’s long elevations, masking the blank façade. This gives the street elevation depth and richness; grouped entrances are pushed into the main elevation line and bay windows pushed out. This, combined with small front yards distancing ground floor windows from the street and set-back roof features, give a complex, layered aesthetic that resonates with traditional urban rhythms, but is wholly modern in its aesthetic. This is an exemplar of integrated urban design.

The courtyard is perfect for drop-off

This was very much a one-person show, demonstrating the demands placed on a sole trader at the start of their career. The concept designer, technical architect, project manager and receptionist were all the same person. From the outside, the building disguises the cost-effective materials in a dark-grey-to-black unifying cloak. Routed slots are cut in the darkened timber cladding, avoiding the clutter of screwedon metal plates and fittings. The result is a cohesion brought to life with sparing use of bright colours in the window reveals. These colours are so striking they look like powder-coated metal, but the effect is achieved with a translucent stain. The architect has managed to get maximum effect from very ordinary materials. So often architects put their heart and soul into a project and get little thanks for it. Here the client is delighted with all they have gained from the brilliant management of a very low budget. Recognition is due for the dedicated and sophisticated design thinking that has made so much from so little.

Offering a challenge to the original development masterplan, this competition-winning layout introduced an additional pedestrian street through the scheme. Containing subtle and sophisticated outdoor space in every grade from private to public, the street is where children are able to play under the gentle gaze of parents and neighbours. This is an impressive display of shared living that has become a symbol of the cohousing project, giving its name to the development: Marmalade Lane. The central areas contain green spaces that have been particularly designed for children. Housing and communal facilities (the Common House) face into these well-landscaped spaces, and they provide a convincing heart to the new community. This is much better than looking out over cars. Co-housing participants were given free choice within a range of brick cladding options, which generated a rich elevational pattern while avoiding chaotic randomness. © Maciek Platek

© Jack Hobhouse

Architect Practice: Devlin Architects Ltd Client: Eaton Socon Pre-School CIO Contractor: Mixbrow Construction Ltd

Marmalade Lane

Cambridge Architecture 35


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21/08/2019 09:44


Accessible dwellings

© Crown

Access all areas Planning departments across the country are introducing policy to require new housing developments to include a percentage of ‘accessible and adaptable’ new dwellings WORDS NICK KENDALL OF 3C BUILDING CONTROL

In Cambridge, Policy 51 requires 100 per cent of all new dwellings to achieve an ‘accessible and adaptable’ aspirational standard. It creates an opportunity to enhance communities by enabling people to stay in their homes for longer because of the designed adaptability of the properties. M4 (2) – so called because the regulation is a requirement under Approved Document M – poses numerous design challenges for architects, such as ‘step-free access’ to a variety of accommodation in the entrance storey. In addition, features such as designed structural openings for through-floor lifts have to be provided, to ‘increase the accessibility and functionality of the dwellings’ in the future. Step-free access means that even blocks of flats with only ground and first-floor dwellings need a lift to BS 81-70:2003. Consequently, the space and financial investment to achieve this must be allowed for. A M4 (2) dwelling is also generally larger than the conventional visitable ones built to date, with larger hallways for circulation, 1200mm clear space in front of kitchen units, and at least one double bedroom with 750mm ‘clear access zone’ around the bed. Minimum sizes of doors and accessible thresholds also offer residents the chance to get out and enjoy the garden. The guidance even requires the installation of a bath in the bathroom, seemingly not giving the option to only have a shower, even if one is wanted! With M4 (2) homes, there is now guidance not just on the height of switches and sockets, but on the location of window handles and the line-ofsight requirements for glazing on principal windows in the principal living area. 3C Building Control, as a local authority building control provider, is all about community – to the point that the LABC initials could stand for Looking After Buildings in our Community. As a council-based department running a statutory service, 3C Building Control will always be around, backed by the council, to provide construction advice and consumer protection, regardless of how the construction industry evolves.

Laying foundations for the future of construction

*all dimensions are minimum, except where noted

As a designer, a M4 (2) home might be a challenge and an additional constraint on design integrity. But they will be homes that more people can enjoy for longer, and that become a building block of communities, offering longevity to neighbourhoods with a broader demographic. As a result, they will receive a much greater level of appreciation.

Notes 1. Clear access required to window and no localised obstructions intruding on access zone 2. Bedside furniture permitted in zone ‘a’ 3. Bed size in accordance with furniture schedule in Appendix D

Policy 51: Accessible homes In order to create accessible homes: a. all housing development should be of a size, configuration and internal layout to enable Building Regulations requirement M4 (2) ‘accessible and adaptable dwellings’ to be met; and b. 5 per cent1 of the affordable housing component of every housing development providing or capable of acceptably providing 20 or more self-contained affordable homes2, should meet Building Regulations requirement M4 (3) ‘wheelchair user dwellings’ to be wheelchair accessible, or be easily adapted for residents

who are wheelchair users. Compliance with the criteria should be demonstrated in the Design and Access Statement submitted with the planning application. References 1 Rounded up to the nearest whole unit 2 Part M of the Building Regulations generally does not apply to dwellings resulting from a conversion or a change of use. Additional guidance on the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations (amended 2015) can be found in: Approved Document M Access to and use of buildings Volume 1: Dwellings.

Cambridge Architecture 37


Š MCW Architects

Work in progress

Redevelopment of India House

Snell David Architects is excited to see to site this bold kitchen and dining extension to a 1930s detached property in Royston. Construction details are currently being developed for the restoration of the existing property and for the striking forms of the zinc-clad extensions, featuring rich Danish slim bricks. The proposed extension design reaches out into the long garden, visually detaching itself from its host building. The roofscape offers impressive lofty internal spaces, which capture the southern sunlight being cast over the top of the main house.

Š Snell David Architects

Planning permission has been granted for the development of India House, Newnham Road, by Mill Pond. The project, designed by MCW Architects and led by developer Camprop, will replace the current building with a high-quality and carefully considered mixed-use scheme in this highly sensitive setting. Providing space for commercial activity at ground-floor level, the new development will create an active and visible street frontage. On the upper floors, a cluster of apartments with excellent access will offer great views across Mill Pond.

Planning granted for a bold residential extension

38 Cambridge Architecture


Spotlight on projects by Chartered Practices

© NP Architects

Farmyard to residential development Graham Handley Architects has secured planning permission for a development of seven dwellings at a former agricultural yard in Ellington, Huntingdonshire. The land is now for sale on the open market. The layout and design take reference from a traditional farmyard and comprise a group of buildings surrounding, and sheltering, a central courtyard space. The proposal aims to create a ‘sense of place’, striking a balance between more traditional buildings and modern contemporary dwellings.

A large private house designed by NP Architects has been submitted for planning, replacing an existing dwelling and a dilapidated collection of outbuildings in South Cambridgeshire. The new building is intended to read as a minimal elemental form situated in the landscape, not unlike agricultural typologies. Large openings and balconies are cut into the external envelope as dictated by the internal layout. The relatively steeply pitched roof will be covered in a clay tile/brick – a material that is continued down to the first-floor level to visually combine the roof and upper storey with no obvious eaves. Linear brickwork would be used on the lower storey and chimney stacks.

New dwelling, Bartlow

© Chadwick Dryer Clarke

© Graham Handley Architects

A minimal elemental form inspired by agricultural typology

Chadwick Dryer Clarke is working on a new 200m2 dwelling in the village of Bartlow. The concept for the design is a sensitive rebuilding of a thatch-roofed barn abutting folded pitch roofs, which creates a double-height open-plan living area. The materials on the house echo those of the region: red brick, flint, thatch, black-stained timber and black metal roofing. The project is on site and is to be completed in summer 2020.

Cambridge Architecture 39


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