Cambridge development wins Housing Design Award for being the most sustainable residential scheme in UK


17-09-2021
knights park eddington

Developer Hill Group has scooped a prestigious 2021 Housing Design Award for its unique scheme, Knights Park in Cambridge. 

The awards, which took place at Storey's Field in Eddington, are the longest running award programme in the country [1948] and the only one that sends a multidisciplinary set of judges to the shortlisted developments.

Knights Park is the first ever completed Housing Design Award entry to be recognised by Building with Nature for providing an outstanding habitat to support biodiversity alongside a comprehensive strategy for channelling cloud bursts to rain gardens under which there are storage tanks so the water can be used for the planting, when needed. 

Housing Design Awards Director David Birkbeck said: “This summer we’ve seen many examples of climate change bringing tropical downpours. This is the first scheme in Britain with a strategy to make sure those cloudbursts don’t soak through under your front door. It’s an exemplar of designing for climate change with a 360 degree vision, such as its clever ventilation strategies so homes won’t overheat, now a real issue for nearly all new-builds. If I were buying a new home and worrying about climate change and how that would affect my comfort in my home, I’d be confident Knights Park wouldn’t leave me sweltering at night.’

Knights Park in Eddington is an exemplar of sustainable architecture and urban design for the 2020’s and beyond.  A zero-carbon neighbourhood which has been thoughtfully planned is set within a network of social, tree-lined streets.  The urban grid is anchored by a car-free landscaped avenue that connects cycle and pedestrian routes to nearby local amenities: schools, health centre, supermarket and shops alongside a community hall and hotel.

Dr Gemma Jerome, Director of Building with Nature said: "Our quality standards have been created to award projects at both the design and post-construction stages of development. Given that Knights Park is already built and occupied, meaning their planning application came forward before much of the current environmental and climate legislation was in place, we were super impressed with the high standard and holistic design approach evident across the scheme. Knights Park delivers a new neighbourhood which will act as a benchmark for development for years to come. Without compromising on the design quality of the built environment, Knights Park successfully demonstrates what is possible when a scheme positively responds to the climate and ecological emergency, meeting the needs of both the existing and future local communities.”

Andy Hill, Chief Executive of Hill Group, commented: "It's a great honour and a privilege to receive this award from such a prestigious array of judges. Working in collaboration with Pollard Thomas Edwards and Alison Brooks Architects, we have created a scheme with the highest standards in design and sustainability we are immensely proud of.  Delivering functional homes that have a reduced impact on the environment is something we are known for, and it is terrific that Knights Park has been recognised by this expert panel.

"Achieving this award would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work performed by the whole team over almost ten years. I would like to congratulate Pollard Thomas Edwards and Alison Brooks Architects for their hard work and commitment, which has resulted in an exemplar scheme for sustainable design. It takes an extraordinary number of businesses, stakeholders and individuals to deliver a scheme the size of Eddington, and we feel immensely proud to have been recognised for this work."

Teresa Borsuk, Senior Advisor of Pollard Thomas Edwards, commented: “Pollard Thomas Edwards and Alison Brooks Architects are delighted to have received this inaugural Housing Design award and respect this recognition by Design for Homes.

"The whole project team, (including both architectural practices, the many consultants, the client and developer, Hill) have strived to ensure that the success of Knights Park is consistent and “thrutone”, from its fundamental ambitions of sustainable and zero carbon living, through its specific place making and green qualities, to the special and particular enjoyment of each of the homes. A conscientious and considered development where people will truly feel 'at home'. “

Located in the newly created district of Eddington, the scheme places residents' wellbeing, sustainability and ecology at the forefront of the design. It uses innovative, seamlessly integrated construction methods to minimise environmental impact and is based around a neighbourhood system for 'living lightly'.

Alison Brooks, Founder and Creative Director Alison Brooks Architects commented: “This Housing Design Award is a wonderful acknowledgement of what can be achieved when a client group prioritises sustainability at every level and invests in architectural quality. We are delighted for the University of Cambridge, Hill, PTE, AECOM and our wider project design team who have all invested a huge amount of care and effort into the realising Knights Park. Collectively we’ve brought exemplary innovation and quality of life to this beautiful new neighbourhood where our housing designs have integrated home working - long before Covid was governing the headlines. ”

The new houses include a wide range of sustainable features from high performing robust insulation and triple glazing to photovoltaic panels and mechanical ventilation in addition to heat recovery systems. The energy centre in Eddington delivers heat and hot water to residents, with major system efficiencies reducing C02 and energy wastage. In addition, the development-wide rainwater harvesting and sustainable urban drainage system is currently the largest in the UK and recycles rainwater through natural drainage features before filtering it and returning it to Hill's new homes for use in washing machines and flushing toilets.

An underground refuse system negates the need for wheelie bins and promotes recycling, and the development was designed to cater for pedestrians and cyclists, with interconnecting foot and cycle paths.

Prices at Knights Park start from £689,950 for a two-bedroom penthouse apartment. For further information visit www.knightspark-eddington.co.uk or call 01223 607200.