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Ridgeway Village:

courtyard living for the 21st Century that achieves Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5

Residential, Masterplanning
Countryside Properties UK and the University of Cambridge
Contract value:
£45 million
North West Cambridge
Project status:

The Ridgeway Village will set a new standard for sustainable urban family living in the world class setting of North West Cambridge. Designed to adapt to the needs of its residents over time, the new neighbourhood will contribute to the creation of an inclusive community, embracing sustainable living and new technologies appropriate to the Cambridge context. Significantly, the project will also be one of few in the country that is designed to achieve Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

The Ridgeway Village comprises of two development plots and will provide 155 dwellings in total consisting of a wide range of housing types. A coherent urban ‘grain’ is used to unite the housing forms on both development plots to deliver the scale and character required in this part of the masterplan.

The greater density proposed for the southern site led to the design of seven ‘courtyard clusters’ each consisting of courtyard house, apartment and maisonette housing types, provided with either a private courtyard garden or terrace (or both). Each cluster of dwellings is arranged around a central shared court – a semi-private communal space designed to accommodate residents’ parking and support neighbourly interactions.

The lower density proposed on the northern site supports larger family courtyard houses, where walled gardens are used to unite terraces of dwellings. Two apartment buildings, an embedded ‘palazzo’ on each site, are designed to act as significant townscape features - one terminating at the end of a new neighbourhood park, while the other sits at the end of a principal street as it turns a corner.

Concept sketch of the Village Amble
Concept sketch of the Village Amble

The configuration of residential clusters and landscaped routes was in part informed by found archaeological evidence of ‘enclosures’ and ‘tracks’ dating back to Bronze Age, Roman and Medieval settlements. The mapped information was overlaid with the orthogonal geometry of the masterplan to generate a rich townscape of irregular street widths and focal points. This process of ‘revealing’ the earthworks within the landscape design of the central green space called a ‘Village Amble’, gives this element a unique identity and focus.

Further ‘ambles’, mews streets and lanes together comprise the public realm structure for both sites and provide permeability across the development for pedestrians and cyclists as well as high quality landscaped spaces for outdoor retreat.

The materials strategy reveals the site’s intriguing geological strata: a ‘gault mudstone’ layer and a seam of clay, silt, sand and gravel deposits that run across the northern corner of the site towards nearby Girton Village. This is reflected in the proposed facades through a transition of Cambridge gault brick (grey/buff) along the Village Amble towards the south through to the more red hues of nearby Girton College’s distinctive stone and red brick buildings towards the north.

Ridgeway Village will be supported by nearby commercial, educational, recreational and community facilities as well as a rich offering of green open spaces that are proposed in the wider masterplan.