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WINNER FOR BEST HOUSE (THREE STOREYS OR MORE)

NHBDA / JUDGES REPORT

ACCORDIA AIR Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Housebuilder: Countryside Properties (Accordia) This quirky scheme is part of a masterplan which is the collaborative vision of three practices with distinctly individual approaches to house design. Despite being a tight, high-density development, Accordia Air demonstrates a thoughtful use of space and imaginatively individual architecture, the judges declared. The final result, they said, is a classy, self-assured townhouse that will appeal to every Mail on Sunday reader.

Accordia Air is only one design that makes up Accordia, a 9.7ha brownfield site hosting 382 houses and apartments, including 114 affordable homes, in Cambridge town centre.

The scheme, by Feilden Clegg Bradley (responsible for Accordia Air), Maccreanor Lavington Architects and Alison Brooks Architects, replaces a much-hated sprawl of 50-year-old yellow prefab government offices and a Cold War underground nuclear bunker.

Much of the development draws inspiration from traditional Georgian architecture - double-height ceilings, generous balconies and principal living space spanning an entire floor. Yet Accordia Air possesses an appealing freshness, illustrated by feature glazing, extensive terraces on every level and separate studio space over the garage. The judges were equally enamoured with its credentials, notably the green roof, sustainable timber and A-rated energy-efficient kitchens.

The house contrasts an urban-street front elevation with a shared landscape rear that has strictly restricted pedestrian access.

This uplifting format, the judges said, has produced a civic environment which challenges the bland identikit layouts that characterise contemporary volume housing developments.

While the scheme is generally pleasing on the eye, the judges felt the retro-style chimney detracted from the progressive ethos of the overall vision. Nevertheless, Accordia Air was heralded an encouraging advance on previous entries to this category.

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