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Work starts on Proctor and Matthews’ modular Homes England office

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Construction has begun on a £2.9 million regional office for Homes England, designed by Proctor and Matthews Architects, at the new town of Northstowe in Cambridgeshire

The modular, two-storey base for the south-east team of the government’s housing and regeneration agency will later be converted into community facilities for the new town’s residents.

As well as open plan offices, meeting rooms, breakout spaces and conference facilities, the 620m² scheme features ’a canopy of woven willow hurdles’ which will shelter an interior courtyard and create an outdoor terrace.

Northstowe is being built on the former RAF Oakington barracks close to Cambridge. It will be the UK’s largest new town since Milton Keynes and will contain 10,000 homes.

The practice is also working on Northstowe Phase 2 and has produced concept designs for an initial parcel of 400 homes.

Stephen Proctor, director at Proctor and Matthews Architects, said: ’[The Homes England scheme] will be a focus for the emerging new town and a showcase of the benefits of flexible design and modular construction.

‘Our design references local crafts, heritage and textures, lending character to what we hope will become a popular and practical community building in the years to come.’

Offsite construction specialist McAvoy Group is delivering the project which is expected to complete in June this year.

Architect’s view

Our design references local heritage and textures that respond to its location on the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens, bringing a decorative yet functional approach that lifts the otherwise simple building.

A key feature is a canopy of woven willow hurdles set within a steel frame – a prominent landmark overlooking the surrounding flat landscape that also references traditional coppicing and weaving crafts, while providing shelter to an interior courtyard and an outdoor terrace. The building’s textured character continues with an open weave timber cladding that wraps around the first floor above a solid ground floor ‘plinth’, concealing window frames and guarding glazed ventilation panels.

The ground-floor wall panels and the slender steel columns supporting the canopy share a terracotta colour palette that references the many Roman pottery finds discovered nearby, and the multiple layers of history on the site.

A410 ground floor 1 100 ed

A410 ground floor 1 100 ed

Project data

Anticipated completion June 2019
Estimated cost £2.9 million 
Architect Proctor and Matthews Architects
Client Homes England
Main contractor McAvoy Group
Project manager Mott MacDonald
Structural engineer AECOM
Planning consultant Tibbalds
Quantity surveyor Mott MacDonald
Landscape architect Chris Blandford Associates 
CAD software used Revit 2018 executed to BIM Level 2

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