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Issue #21

We chose a brick with an almost handmade quality. It is light in tone and relates to the investor’s Scandinavian heritage, whilst being sympathetic to the brick found in and around Cambridge.

Michael Richter, Formation Architects

Cambridge UK Formation Architects
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beige brick facade apartment building back view Seven Acres Cambridge
© Louis Sinclair

PROMOTING SUSTAINABILITY VALUES IN A LARGE SCALE

Green building

The Seven Acres residential project in the UK garnered a whole series of awards before it was even completed. The prizes recognized not only the architecture, but also the concept of sustainability applied in the 128 newly constructed homes.

The project lies on the southern outskirts of Cambridge, where the intention is to create 3,500 new flats with communal facilities and green spaces. The master plan for this project was developed by Formation Architects. The right-angled site is organised around a park-like communal space with tables, benches, pergolas and a barbecue area, as well as grassy playing fields and a children’s playhouse. Trees and planters border the space, which also has acoustic screening in the form of a glass wall. In addition, three small gardens can be used to grow vegetables.

beige brick facade apartment building front view Seven Acres Cambridge
© Louis Sinclair

VARIOUS BUILDING TYPES

Formation Architects built a total of 128 residences –70 two and three-storey houses, and 58 flats in four-storey buildings which flank the entrances to the new neighbourhood. The different building types are arranged in long and short rows, are staggered individually, or paired like semi-detached houses. Recessed structures and varying heights, narrow storey-spanning windows, and small balconies give the place the appearance of having been playfully assembled with building blocks.

beige brick facade apartment building front view Seven Acres Cambridge
© Louis Sinclair
beige brick facade apartment building front view Seven Acres Cambridge
© Louis Sinclair

OUTSTANDING BRICK WORK

The design of the cohesive brick façades, which lends the houses serenity and size, is particularly noteworthy. Projecting headers and incised ornamental surfaces create appealing aesthetics. Explaining the choice of bricks used, Michael Richter of Formation Architects, says, “We chose a brick with an almost handmade quality.” Oak timber completes the limited materials palette of the eight house types and three apartment buildings. All residences have a minimum ceiling height of 2.7 metres or feature gallery-like openings; sliding doors allow for variable connections; and terraces on all floors supplement the narrow gardens.

beige brick facade building front view Seven Acres Cambridge
© Louis Sinclair

SUSTAINABLE FEATURES

Strong insulation, managed ventilation with heat recovery, triple glazing, photovoltaics, green roofs, and rainwater collection all form part of the environmentally-conscious profile of this neighbourhood. Bicycle storage rooms in each house remind the residents how they themselves can contribute to saving energy.

Facts & Figures
  • Project name
    Seven Acres, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Architect
    Formation Architects
  • Client
    Skanska
  • Used products

    Terca Marziale

  • Year of completion
    2014
Terca Marziale Wienerberger brick facade

Façade

Terca Marziale – United Kingdom