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18th Aug 2015

Housing minister visits award-winning Grant Associates development

Brandon Lewis, Minister for State for Housing and Planning, has visited the award-winning, Cambridge housing scheme Accordia to experience first-hand how Grant Associates’ public realm designs helped shape the acclaimed development. The visit was coordinated by the Landscape Institute.

A large scale, high-density scheme developed on the site of former government offices in central Cambridge, Accordia was built in 2007 by Countryside Properties. One year later, it became the first ever residential scheme to win a prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize on the strength of its pioneering approach to public realm design and strong environmental credentials.

Grant Associates worked in close collaboration with architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to create a masterplan for the £80m scheme. Guided by a holistic approach to place making, the masterplan balanced buildings with public realm to ensure that each home overlooked green space to give the sense of ‘Living in a Garden’.

Accordia also incorporated subtle traffic calming measures to reduce the impact of cars, and used sustainable urban drainage (SuDS), sedum roofing, and carefully selected planting to create a genuine green infrastructure that boosted biodiversity. A network of paths and cycle ways served to connect all areas of the 9.6 Hectare site (of which 3.5 Hectares is landscaped space).

Commenting on the ministerial visit, Peter Chmiel, director at Grant Associates, said: “Grant Associates was delighted and honoured to be invited to show the minister around Accordia.

“It was a great opportunity to showcase, and discuss, the role of landscape architecture in creating sustainable and liveable neighbourhoods through the delivery of high quality and integrated green infrastructure and public realm.

“Accordia demonstrates the importance of the involvement of the landscape architect from the very start of the masterplanning process and how integrated landscape design brings real added value to the project as a whole.”

Image: Brandon Lewis and Peter Chmiel