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London-based Post-Modernist practice FAT has been given the go-ahead for this residential cube - part of the ambitious Will Alsop/Studio Egret Westdesigned Middlehaven masterplan in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire.

The practice's Community In A Cube (CIAC) building and SMC Alsop's neighbouring Krusty housing block are the first two projects on the massive waterfront plot to be approved by the Middlesbrough Council.

Backed by developer BioRegional Quintain and Tees Valley Regeneration, the £7.5 million FAT scheme will create 80 apartments over eight oors.

The ats will sit above a new pub which will be built on the north side of the site. The south side will feature an 'Italianate' stepped garden, nestled between the U-shaped residential blocks.

On the top of the development will be a series of 'dinky' skyhomes, described by FAT co-founder Sean Griffiths as 'streets in the sky with the look of New England or New Urbanist houses.'

According to Griffiths, the two rooftop levels of housing will be clad in an 'imitation wood' cement fibreboard for ease of maintenance.

There will be two entrances into the development: one a route up through the building via the green terraces; another into a grand top-lit hall complete with giant chandelier.

The main block will have a concrete frame dressed in brick and the central courtyard will be clad in patterned wood - an interior likened by Griffiths to the lining of a 'ashy jacket'.

Comparing CIAC to the firm's other recent work, Griffiths said: 'The scheme is slightly different from our others in that there is not so much emphasis on the facade - unlike our other projects which played that card.

'This is a much more sculptural project. There is a sense of grandeur.' He laughed: 'It's almost heroic'.

The FAT scheme will also house a biomass boiler which will serve another seven similar sized 30m 3 cubes which have yet to be designed.

Work on CIAC is expected to start on site in December this year and complete before the end of 2008.

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