Mecanoo worked alongside the University of Cambridge to deliver 232 affordable key worker housing in their Eddington development, Northwest Cambridge. These will be home to research staff and key university employees. Creating a community was vital to the Client’s brief, so a new interpretation of the public and private realm has been introduced in this project. The characteristic Cambridge variation of enclosed and open spaces, alternating between formal and informal groupings of buildings is a departure point for the design that activates courtyard spaces, creating a direct connection between the dwellings and these open spaces.
Gallery units surround two courtyards. The access galleries form outside community living rooms where inhabitants might meet and interact. There are also corner buildings and a spine building that runs through the heart of the site. In these buildings the units are grouped around spacious central halls that connect back to the courtyards and are flooded with daylight via glass lanterns. The two internal courtyards, with lawns, flower fields, raised decks, planters, fruit trees and urban furniture stimulates the community’s social vitality.