North West Cambridge, Cambridge, 2017
The University of Cambridge has commenced a £1billion masterplan, expanding the campus to north west Cambridge. Phase 1 includes 1300 new homes, a primary school, supermarket and GP Surgery. The whole development has ambitious sustainability targets, with all buildings required to meet Code Level 5 or BREEAM Excellent standard. The heating will be provided by a district heating from a CHP centre.
Mole were teamed up with Wilkinson Eyre Architects to design the central Lot, including the supermarket facing onto the market square. Mole’s building is ‘L’ shaped, partly fronting the main street, and partly south-facing onto a triangular residential courtyard, devised as a building to ‘wrap’ the service yard and energy centre within the centre of the urban block. A difficult condition has been turned to advantage, with duplex apartments accessed off a sunny deck, and a corner tower which will define the entry to the centre at the corner of the street.
The building is a concrete frame with a staggered section to permit the deck access to the flats above. A grey/buff brick has been chosen, which is coupled with precast concrete bands that extend across window heads and act as lintols to the brick over. The horizontal emphasis, and the ‘giant order’ of the windows and spandrel panels give an order and grandness to a simple building type. The vertical apartment tower that sits at the bend in the road adds contract and emphasis.