Posted by: lcowie | June 30, 2009

Accordia Living earns ‘Stirling’ reward

Accordia Living, a residential development in Cambridge, recently won the esteemed Stirling Prize for its innovation in design and implementation of sustainable living practices. The Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architectural award. This is the first time that the honor has been bestowed on a housing scheme.

FeildenCleggBradley Studios planned the Accordia development for Countryside Properties. FCB has been a pioneer for sustainability over the past three decades. Commercial and public projects by Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster were among Accordia’s competition.

Living in the Accordia village has been compared to living in a garden. Accordia developers diligently preserved an avenue of mature oaks in the area as an effort to mold the existing environment. Rather than eliminating the natural surroundings, developers simply added on.

To aid in sustainable living, the Accordia community leaves very little room for driving and parking. Each home has a narrow space for transportation, such that residents may walk or bicycle through the city. Many desirable places are within easy access for community residents.

Keith Bradley, a senior partner for FCB, described the Accordia properties has “layered houses” because many of the homes have ground-level communal gardens, intended as spaces for neighbors to get together, as well as roof gardens and terraces.

Ninety residences – some complete, some under construction – are currently for sale. They range from one-bedroom properties to four-bedroom properties. A representative from Redeham Homes, a second developer for the community, said the company sold six properties in the month of May and five in June.

Accordia’s Stirling Prize has ignited renewed interest in architecture. Despite the UK’s falling residential property market, the government wants to see 3 million new homes built by 2020. Bradley went on to say that he considers this to be a defining moment for residential architecture in Britain. With Accordia’s growing success, it is possible that architects will begin experimenting more with sustainable design.

See the Accordia Living web site or Financial Times‘ article about Accordia for more information.

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