Stanton Williams

Stanton Williams

London, GB


Lot 2 North West Cambridge

The North West Cambridge development is a major urban extension to the city and the most significant capital project that the University of Cambridge has undertaken in its 800-year history. The development will deliver affordable housing for University staff and postgraduate students, as well as research buildings, community facilities and market housing. 

Stanton Williams’ designs for 264 key worker homes, together with shops and social spaces will form the heart of the new community, fronting onto the principal public squares and streets within the new local centre.

A focus has been placed first on the design of spaces, followed by buildings, creating a network of public spaces that encourage interaction and support communal life.
These varied spaces create a social landscape, recalling the differentiated spaces of the traditional city and the historic collegiate spaces of central Cambridge.

A series of interconnected courts and squares differ in scale and function, moving from the large, urban and public Market Square, through to the landscaped and semi-public Landscape Court. Further courts and passages mediate between the two, providing a more intimate scale, communal facilities and semi-public functions. Single storey cycle pavilions break down the scale and massing of the buildings themselves, celebrating arrival by bicycle and the opportunity this presents for social interaction. Pedestrian routes are characterised by informal interconnections and permeability between public and semi-public spaces, helping to create a strong sense of community.

The palette of materials, predominantly brickwork, reflects the traditional materiality found in the domestic architecture of Cambridge. At ground level this expresses itself as a brick plinth connected visually with the materials and activities within the landscape. Above this level the building forms are strongly articulated through use of recessed brick piers and horizontal precast concrete cills, with the level of detail on different buildings varied to respond to the character of specific spaces.

Sustainable living is fundamental to the ambition of the North West Cambridge development. The masterplan provides for limited car use, site wide CHP and full rainwater recycling. Apartments have been designed to meet the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5, while retail units and non-residential spaces will be built to BREEAM Excellent.

Within Stanton Williams’ proposals the landscape, designed in collaboration with J+L Gibbons, visibly expresses the SUDs strategy through a network of surface water rills and reed bed attenuation pools.

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Status: Under Construction