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Thursday24 July 2014

First look: Communality underpins Cottrell & Vermeulen’s Cambridge plans

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Cottrell & Vermeulen has won planning consent for a scheme for new postgraduate student accommodation for Clare College, Cambridge.

Following an RIBA Award-winning project for student accommodation at Churchill College, the practice was selected from an invited competition that also included entries from 5th Studio and Cullum & Nightingale.

The scheme to provide 32 new student rooms involves the redevelopment of a series of buildings on Newnham Road with a new-build development behind.

Selective demolition and remodelling establishes a new street edge and forms a covered gateway leading into the site. Within, a terrace of three new houses forms a mews-like courtyard, rising to three storeys to the south and extending back a single storey to form two smaller courtyards. These exterior social spaces are again accessed underneath the building above, reflecting a form typical of the area.

“We’ve tried to establish different degrees of communality across the site,” said project architect Simon Tucker, “by creating a sequence of garden spaces as you move through the scheme.”

The courtyard buildings include a mix of different typologies, from self-contained studio flats to five-bedroom houses with large shared kitchens. Meanwhile, the street-fronting building houses studios and maison-ettes, accessed off a raised covered deck, which is linked to existing accommodation.

The project follows the material vocabulary of the conservation area, using gault clay brickwork, painted white along its street frontage, with pitched lead roofs, as well as sedum rooftops on the lower levels.

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