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First detailed plans for £1bn Cambridge expansion approved

RH Partnership has won detailed planning permission for the first buildings on the University of Cambridge’s 150 hectare ‘North West’ expansion project

The locally-based outfit won planning for a series of postgraduate halls of residence said to be inspired by the prestigious university’s ‘traditional collegiate architecture’ in December.  

The BREEAM Excellent scheme – occupying Lot 5 of Phase One and designed to house 325 students – features several three to five storey buildings arranged within open sided courts.

North West Cambridge Development project director Roger Taylor said: ‘These are the first buildings in Phase One that have received planning approval and they reflect the characteristics of the masterplan, which is to create a new, cohesive urban extension to Cambridge.’

RH Partnership project associate Andrew Drummond added: ‘The traditional sequence and hierarchy of spaces within existing collegiate sites in Cambridge was the inspiration for the series of courts and landscaped garden spaces within our proposals, which creates clusters of post-graduate rooms forming varying sizes of houses. 

‘The proposal uses a simple palette of materials which draws on the underlying grain and character of Cambridge architecture.’

Around 3,000 new dwellings are expected to be built on Aecom’s enormous mixed academic and residential masterplan which won outline planning last year.

Architects already working on the expansion include Mecanoo, MUMA and Sarah Wigglesworth.

First phase architects:

  • Lot 1 Food store, energy centre and University apartments: Wilkinson Eyre Architects, London with Mole Architects, Cambridge
  • Lot 2 Shops, pub, University café, housing office and University apartments: Stanton Williams, London
  • Lot 3 University apartments: Mecanoo, Delft
  • Lot 4 University apartments and family houses: Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and AOC, London
  • Lot 5 Student housing: RH Partnership, Cambridge
  • Lot 7 Community hall, health clinic and police office: MUMA, London
  • Lot 8: University housing: Maccreanor Lavington and Witherford Watson Mann
  • Lot 9: University market housing: Alison Brooks Architects
  • Lot A (landscape) public realm and parklands: AECOM, London
  • Lot B (landscape) market square and local centre public realm: Townshend Landscape Architects, London

Last autumn Stanton Williams replaced David Chipperfield on Lot 2 – featuring student accommodation, shops, a café and a pub.

A planning decision on Lot 1, Wilkinson Eyre’s and Mole’s supermarket and local hub, is expected next month.

Meanwhile, Lot 3 which contains key-worker homes by Mecanoo and Lot 7 and features a community centre and nursery by MUMA, is set to be determined in March.

Infrastructure work is planned to start this year with phased project completions expected to begin in 2015.








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