North West Cambridge Development

University of Cambridge
Eddington, Cambridge
The North West Cambridge Development is a 150-hectare, mixed use development on the outskirts of the City of Cambridge. The project is part of the University of Cambridge expansion plans to include affordable housing for its staff and post graduate students. As one of the world's leading universities this development aims to deliver the next chapter in its evolution, creating a dynamic new district of Cambridge setting a benchmark in standards of living, working and education. The scheme combines residential housing, academic and research facilities, a local centre and public amenities, as well as new site infrastructure, an urban town centre and open green space for local people and residents to enjoy.
Phase 1 | Eddington Town Centre
Townshend Landscape Architects were appointed as part of the Phase 1 design team to create a strategy for an urban centre at the heart of the scheme, known as Eddington. This incorporated a main civic space and a series of other squares, courts and streets. The aim was to create an 'urban core' that helped pull together the vibrant surrounding building uses and create the setting for public life to play out. The new square was designed to create a central focus to the area where events, markets and performances could be held as well as provide a variety of different seating areas.
Townshend Landscape Architects worked on four of the Reserved Matters applications for the central area, and then produced the detailed designs to form the Employers Requirements.
The scheme is developed to the highest possible Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM levels, promoting sustainable living through schemes that include water management, energy and waste systems, as well as a green travel plan and community building activities.
Defining an Urban Core
The tradition of European public space is one of materiality with spatially distinctive areas that allow for a wide range of uses. This concept is consistent within Cambridge and reflected at Eddington Town Centre.
The public realm provides a destination and urban setting for the new buildings of this development. The aim for the public realm is to create a cohesive scheme, urban at its core, which provides a valuable amenity for the wider community through a series of contrasting experiences in the form of the various character areas.
The landscape masterplan envisaged and defined new active public spaces created for a range of users, for residents, workers and visitors to enjoy.
Market Square | Eddington
Within Eddington Town centre, at the heart of the local centre, the primary active public space is Market Square.
The Market Square has a strong relationship to the predominantly retail ground floor uses in the buildings surrounding it, and will include 'cafe spill out' to activate the space. One of the main frontages to the Square is the supermarket to the south, this active frontage will contribute to the animation and movement within the space.
The Market Square includes mature tree planting, which has been arranged to define and protect a central space ideal for markets and other events. This space is further emphasised by the placement of three monolithic platforms/benches which give south-facing flexible seating opportunities.
The arrangement of the space and fixed features of benches and trees offers a framework for a wide range of uses. These range from individual expression to both more formal public celebrations and events.
Paved in Caithness stone, quarried in Scotland, the material forms a high quality flexible surface. The variation in colours and tone will bring interest to the space helping to identifying this as the heart of the local centre. A change in unit size of the paving at the building thresholds provides a contrast in both scale and texture of material, this approach has been drawn from spaces within Cambridge and aims to provide a rich tapestry within the public realm surface of the Market Square.
The key objectives of the Market Square:
  • Strengthen the urban core to the development and highlight the Market Square as the centre.
  • Create a hierarchy of spaces that complement the design language and use of the Market Square.
  • Embed the development within its local and vernacular surroundings by drawing on the character of Cambridge.
  • Develop a high quality, restrained and durable materials palette to ensure the longevity and attractiveness of the scheme.
  • Create a flexible space to the Market area that can be used for a multitude activities and events.
  • Plant semi-mature trees that will complement and provide a human scale to the square. They will provide shade on sunny days, and an array of foliage colour and blossom throughout the year.
Design team:
Masterplanner: AECOM
Planning Consultants: AECOM
Infrastructure Engineers: AECOM
Highways Engineer: Peter Brett Associates
Architect Lot 1: Wilkinson Eyre, Mole Architects
Architect Lot 2: Stanton Williams
Architect Lot 3: Mecanoo
Architect Lot 7: MUMA
Architect Lot 8: Maccreanor Lavington, Witherford Watson Mann
Architect Lot 9: Marks Barfield Architects
2017 Cambridge Design and Construction Awards | Winner Best new neighbourhood
2017 Architects Journal Awards | Winner Masterplan of the Year
2018 Planning Awards | Editor's Choice Winner of the best scheme overall
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