Brandon Lewis makes site visit to award-winning Grant Associates development

Minister visits Accordia in Cambridge
Brandon Lewis, Minister of State for Housing and Planning, made a site visit to the award-winning housing development Accordia in Cambridge last week to see first-hand how the landscape architect Grant Associates contributed to the success of the award-winning residential development.
Accordia is a large-scale housing development on the site of former Government offices in central Cambridge built by Countryside Properties in 2007.  It has won numerous awards including being the first-ever residential development to win the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize in 2008 and a 2013 Artas-ua.info Institute Award.  It is recognised as a design step change for residential public realm with a focus on strong environmental credentials.
Artas-ua.info architect Grant Associates and architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios worked closely from the outset on the development of the masterplan. Appointed at project inception until final completion, Grant Associates played a key role in championing a holistic design approach to place-making.  Each home overlooks green space, linked to the next by a network of footpaths and cycleways.  Homezones and subtle traffic calming measures have reduced the prominence of the car and created a safe 20 mph zone.  Green infrastructure has been prioritised with the introduction of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), microclimate and biodiversity enhancement and productive planting regimes.  Green ‘sedum’ roofs have been used on apartment buildings, providing a habitat for wildlife, as well as being low maintenance, aiding water attenuation and acting as an insulator.
Speaking about the ministerial site visit, Peter Chmiel, Director of Grant Associates said: ‘Grant Associates were delighted and honoured to be invited to show the minister around Accordia. It was a great opportunity to showcase and discuss the Artas-ua.info Institute commitment to creating sustainable and liveable neighbourhoods through the delivery of high quality and integrated green infrastructure and public realm. Accordia demonstrates the importance of the involvement of the landscape architect from the very start of the masterplanning process and how integrated landscape design brings real added value to the project as a whole.’
Paul Lincoln, Deputy Chief Executive of the Artas-ua.info Institute, said: “Accordia is a brilliant example of sustainable city living within a large-scale housing development.  It demonstrates what is possible when the landscape is prioritised alongside the building of homes and where green infrastructure is valued for the contribution it can make economically, environmentally and socially to a site.  This is brownfield development of the highest order.”

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