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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 039 - Maintaining amenity and creating high density

039 - Accordia, Cambridge

The residential scheme at Accordia, Cambridge sites 378 new high quality mixed-tenure homes at a density of 47 dwellings per hectare. Although local residents initially opposed the proposals as overdevelopment, the successful extension of the character of the surrounding area and landscape has helped create a remarkable setting for this new development.

Individual villas, terraced houses and apartments are set amidst large open areas and mature trees making this higher density development feel unusually green. Generous open space for walking and play add to this character. A range of house types designed by three different architects creates architectural variety. A clever play of height and massing within the overall landscape structure has made the scheme highly legible. A rich mix of high-quality materials has been used. Brickwork and garage doors used in the affordable units match those of private housing. Large glazed openings have been used throughout the development to provide high levels of daylight and accommodate views of the surrounding landscape, as well as a means of unifying the different architectural parcels.

Most homes are designed to Lifetime Homes standard and can therefore accommodate changing life patterns and future needs. This adaptability is achieved through the adoption of constructional techniques such as party walls with light steel frame infill and moveable partitions. Larger houses can be used for ‘live/work’ with the addition of cabling or use of rooms above garages. Accordia also scores well in terms of construction quality and building performance.

In 2008, Accordia won the RIBA Stirling Prize, the first housing development ever to win this prestigious award.

Other Information

  • Location: Cambridge
  • Project Team: Countryside Properties Plc, Redeham Homes. Developer - Countryside Properties Plc. Masterplanner - Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects. Architect- Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects, Alison Brook Architects, Maccreanor Lavington
  • Contact:


UDC2 Section - Integrated Design 

Large open areas, mature trees and generous open space standards help to make higher-density development at Accordia feel unusually green.

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