Accordia

Brooklands Avenue
Cambridge CB2 2DE

United Kingdom

 

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 2006

Additional residential blocks by Maccreanor Lavington and Alison Brooks

 

Awarding the project the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2008 - the first housing project to receive it - the Royal Institute of British Architects described Accordia as

“an exhilarating project which marked a paradigm shift in British housing, sending a message... that good housing does matter as the place where people's lives and their attitudes to society are shaped.... The values of Accordia are those British cities need more of: a subtly controlling masterplan, a collaborative approach and an eye for both the detail and the big picture in the landscape and the architecture.“

 

 

The development of 212 houses and 166 apartments is near the center of Cambridge, close to the train station and largely targeting the London commuter market - though 30% of the residences are built as 'affordable mixed tenure'.

 

The townhouses are large (up to 2,600 square feet), each with an unusual blend of public and private living. The first-floor terrace gardens, often contained (as in the picture above) between the main house and an additional garage/bedroom block, above the main living area, are a particularly private form of garden; the floor-to-ceiling windows, including huge plate glass vistas into people's kitchens and living rooms on the ground floors, are particularly public. Detailing and finishes are precisely specified and beautifully built.

 

 

 

Along the west edge of the development, overlooking the local brook rather than the dense housing, are four dramatic blocks of luxury apartments, their regular structures punctuated by carefully irregular terrace balconies. The scale, proportions and detailing turn what could be a mundane, square, timber grid into a bold, exciting structure.

 

 

The balconies are well arranged for a mixture of sunlight, privacy and variety, though on some of the buildings are quite small - a small urban balcony, not a terrace for outdoor living.

 

Some of the most dramatic buildings are partially copper clad, so will look dramatically different in the coming years as they age to green.

 

 

Simon Glynn 2008


How to visit

 

Accordia is off Brooklands Avenue, at the south edge of central Cambridge, near the train station.

 

From the station on foot, walk to the end of Station Road, turn left onto Hills Road and right into Brooklands Avenue.

 

 

 

 


Books and other web sites

 

The architects have information and photographs of the project at their web site at www.fcbstudios.com.

 

CABE, England's Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, has producted a good case study on Accordia.

 

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