“In authentic experience, ‘home’, whether a house, a village, or a region… is a central point of existence and individual identity from which you look out on the rest of the world.” – Edward Relph
In 2014 Alison Brooks Architects with PTE won a two-stage competition to design 240 new homes with Hill, as part of Cambridge University’s exceptionally ambitious North West Cambridge Development. The 150 hectare urban extension masterplanned by Aecom includes university and market housing, a primary school, research space plus community facilities such as a nursery, a doctors’ surgery, community centre, supermarket and retail units, and open green space.
ABA’s three distinctive ‘palazzo’ apartment blocks are a major new addition to the award-winning North West Cambridge masterplan. Complementing the palazzos, we have designed terraced houses and courtyard houses, semidetached and free-standing villas.
Our three palazzos form a permeable urban edge to the new neighbourhood. This strategy maximises prime frontages, generates a rich street- scape experience and offers a clear urban threshold to the neighbourhood beyond. Clad in brick and leavened with a top floor ‘loggia’, these four and five storey buildings are animated by subtly shifting fenestration. The pattern creates an optical illusion of movement, a dynamic facade.
Our fan-like plan geometry embraces the adjacent oak tree, while maximising frontage for dual-aspect units. Our coherent grouping of subtly faceted geometries is further strengthened by a two-storey inhabited bridge. In the spirit of the Bridge of Sighs, this surprising element reinforces the primary street frontage, marks a covered entrance to the apartments and creates a hanging garden or roof terrace for second floor apartments.