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Stirling winner Accordia protected from ‘ramshackle’ changes

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The Stirling Prize-winning Accordia housing estate in Cambridge has won Conservation Area status

The high-profile development designed by Fielden Clegg Bradley Studio, Maccreanor Lavington and Alison Brooks was granted protection last week almost six years after winning the UK’s largest architectural award.

The conservation area designation means all future works must ‘preserve or improve’ the district’s character.

Local authority Cambridge City Council’s executive councillor for housing, Tim Ward, told Cambridge News: ‘This is in response to the Accordia Residents’ Association, who want the place to carry on looking more or less as it did when it won the award for architecture, and also in response to the findings of our conservation consultants.

‘Accordia does have a coherence which we wouldn’t want to see ruined by ramshackle extensions here and there.’

The move followed concerns that private owners’ extensions and unsympathetic replacement of materials by social housing residents risked irreversibly damaging the internationally acclaimed development’s appearance.

Accordia’s residents association applied for the conservation area status and a more stringent Article Four direction outlawing brickwork painting and all but ‘like-for-like’ door and window replacement earlier this year.

Extending the nearby Brooklands Avenune Conservation Area to include Accordia, the council also agreed to further investigate the possibility of an Article Four direction.

Officers will prepare a draft Article Four direction for councillors to consider later this year. The onerous restriction has never been used in the city before.

The council’s head of urban design and conservation Glen Richardson said: ‘We were asked as part of our annual Pro-active Conservation Work Program to report what areas we would be bringing forward for targeted [Article Four direction’s] in future.’

‘It’s important to stress to that government guidance requires there to be ‘exceptional’ circumstances before [Article Four directions] are used, so we will be ensuring that the reason for their use is truly exceptional.’ 

English Heritage shot down a bid to list the award-winning development earlier this year because the scheme was ‘much too young’ to be assesed.

Keith Bradley, senior partner at Fielden Clegg Bradley said: ‘[We are] very pleased that Accordia has been given conservation area status that has come through petitioning from residents.

‘The community want the Stirling Prize winning architecture and landscape coherence protected in the same way as the more historic areas of the city. This recognition and design pride in a neighbourhood that offers residents and visitors a real sense of place is very rare in modern housing developments.’









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Readers' comments (1)

  • Industry Professional

    Is the personalisation of space so bad?... is architecture more important than self espression?... Cambridge has streets of Victorian terrace houses part of their charm is the fact no two are the same, part of there appeal is their flexibility and adaptability over time. In an age where we are encouraged to design for changing households, lifetime homes and new patterns of tenure, are the beautiful hosues of Accordia relevant?...

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