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The Cambridge team's high-density winning entry

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Four students at Cambridge University have won first prize in the Wates Built Homes 'Living Sites' competition to design innovative housing which will then be built on a real site. Tim Bradley, Julian Hakes, Abubakr Merghani and Cari-Jane Wallet's proposal was chosen above 96 others from the uk and overseas. They opted to increase the density on the site to three times that originally requested to demonstrate how this can both be energy-saving and allow the denser development that constitutes true sustainability.

The team achieves this by stacking apartments on five floors. By also using a 'warm wall' on the south facade to act as a thermal store, and careful siting to avoid overshadowing and make maximum use of solar energy, the energy use is calculated to be 40-70 per cent less than average. In addition to the apartments there are some paired family houses and also small individual dwellings for elderly family members or grown-up children.

The scheme, for a site near Hampton Court in Surrey, is arranged around a strip of reed-beds which are used both for filtering grey water and as an environmental feature.The winning team gets £5000 as well as a commitment from Wates to realise the scheme. Negotiations on the site are nearly complete.

There were two second prizes, to Katy Ghahremani and Michael Kohn for units which could be customised internally to occupiers' requirements, and to Nicola Worton & Oliver Froome-Lewis for a warehouse style building. A team comprising Neils Jonkhans, Uli Moller and Kilian O'Sullivan won third prize.

The judges were architects Edward Cullinan, Bill Dunster and Clare Frankl, landscape architect Georgina Livingston, housing academic Alison Ravetz, housing writer Josephine Smit, and Sir Christopher Wates, chief executive of the Wates Group.

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