Abode, Great Kneighton, by Proctor & Matthews

Houses constructed from a palette of timber and brickwork.

With more than 300 homes, 40 per cent of which are classed as affordable, Abode forms part of a mixed-use community of 2,250 dwellings at Great Kneighton on the southern edge of Cambridge. Proctor & Matthews’ scheme, for developer Countryside Properties, consists of a hierarchy of spaces and housing types to suit different parts of the development – from a formal arrival zone to a more relaxed architectural language at the edge.

At the entrance, two apartment marker buildings sit within a formal ‘Great Court’ that references Cambridge colleges, absorbs existing infrastructure and provides a gateway to the scheme. Beyond, a series of mews streets containing more modest three-storey saw-tooth terraced houses creates a sense of transition. Here landscaping corridors create shared spaces between the houses and connect the Great Court to the countryside.

Further, on the ‘Green Lanes’ area creates a village atmosphere with loose clusters of two- to five-bedroom homes with private gardens and shared spaces. Here the aim is ‘rural erosion’, in which the hierarchy of spaces and buildings shrinks further before vanishing into the landscape.

All buildings share a base palette of ‘Cambridge’ stock brickwork, highlighted in places with textured brick. Materials reflect the building hierarchy: bold contemporary materials emphasise the Great Court, while the Green Lanes use traditional materials to reference vernacular buildings and provide a softer edge to the development.

Terrace housing

Long House (top), mews house (middle), terrace house (bottom).

Project team
Architect: Proctor & Matthews Architects; structural, civil, m&e engineer: Ramboll UK; landscape: BBUK; client, qs, main contractor: Countryside Properties.

First published in AT233, November 2012

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