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RMA creates sustainable landscape for new King's College residences

RMA creates sustainable landscape for new King's College residences

RMA has produced the landscape masterplan for 84 sustainable new homes for students and fellows of King’s College, designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley (FCB) Studios.

The scheme, at Croft Gardens within the West Cambridge Conservation Area, features a pair of crescent-shaped buildings which contain small apartments, while a third building incorporates student rooms, common rooms and kitchens. The construction package is currently out for tender, with work due to start on site in the summer.

Our aim was to create a unified landscape incorporating several character areas, including a woodland grove and courtyard gardens, and a semi-formal green frontage that integrates the new development into the existing neighbourhood. The homes will be built to Passivhaus standards which demand that a scheme should have a lifespan of at least a century. Taking this into account, the landscape design responds to the current requirements of student living, creating a flexible space for study and recreation, but is also adaptable to future needs as the use of the site evolves.

The masterplan is based on a strong landscape structure and uses a palette of robust yet elegant materials to create a defined sense of place. A central communal open space is crossed by diagonal paths, with a generous lawn and linear sculpted landform, and a terraced amphitheatre for events. This central space also functions as an attenuation feature, part of the site-wide sustainable urban drainage strategy (SuDS) which includes peripheral rain gardens to absorb surface water.

The rear gardens are more informal in character. A woodland garden will be created around the existing mature trees, which will be augmented with specimen native and ornamental trees, shrubs and woodland wildflowers to enhance biodiversity and wildlife value. In the sunny south-western corner, a shared allotment garden will be created as a social hub to the rear of the existing villa.