Hill’s Knights Park development wins Housing Design Award as UK’s most sustainable residential scheme
Hill Group’s Knights Park scheme in Cambridge was hailed as “an exemplar of designing for climate change” as it scooped a prestigious 2021 Housing Design Award in a ceremony held today (Thursday, September 16) at nearby Storey’s Field in Eddington.
The awards are the longest-running programme in the country - since 1948 - and the only one where a multidisciplinary team of judges considers the shortlisted developments.
Knights Park is the first completed Housing Design Award entry to be recognised by Building with Nature for providing an outstanding habitat to support biodiversity, as well as a comprehensive strategy to channel cloudbursts to rain gardens beneath which there are storage tanks so the water can be used again when needed.
Housing Design Awards director David Birkbeck said: “This summer we’ve seen many examples of climate change bringing tropical downpours. This is the first scheme in Britain with a strategy to make sure those cloudbursts don’t soak through under your front door.
“It’s an exemplar of designing for climate change with a 360-degree vision, such as its clever ventilation strategies so homes won’t overheat, now a real issue for nearly all new-builds. If I were buying a new home and worrying about climate change and how that would affect my comfort in my home, I’d be confident Knights Park wouldn’t leave me sweltering at night.”
Andy Hill, chief executive of Hill Group, paid tribute to the multidisciplinary team behind the scheme which ranges form studio flats through family homes to penthouse apartments.
He said: “It’s a great honour and a privilege to receive this award from such a prestigious array of judges. Working in collaboration with Pollard Thomas Edwards and Alison Brooks Architects, we have created a scheme with the highest standards in design and sustainability we are immensely proud of. Delivering functional homes that have a reduced impact on the environment is something we are known for, and it is terrific that Knights Park has been recognised by this expert panel.
“Achieving this award would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work performed by the whole team over almost 10 years. I would like to congratulate Pollard Thomas Edwards and Alison Brooks Architects for their hard work and commitment, which has resulted in an exemplar scheme for sustainable design.
“It takes an extraordinary number of businesses, stakeholders and individuals to deliver a scheme the size of Eddington, and we feel immensely proud to have been recognised for this work.”
Knights Park is a zero-carbon neighbourhood within a network of tree-lined streets. A car-free landscaped avenue connects cycle and pedestrian routes to nearby schools, a health centre, supermarket and shops, a community hall and hotel.
Dr Gemma Jerome, director of Building with Nature, said: “Our quality standards have been created to award projects at both the design and post-construction stages of development. Given that Knights Park is already built and occupied, meaning their planning application came forward before much of the current environmental and climate legislation was in place, we were super impressed with the high standard and holistic design approach evident across the scheme.
“Knights Park delivers a new neighbourhood which will act as a benchmark for development for years to come. Without compromising on the design quality of the built environment, Knights Park successfully demonstrates what is possible when a scheme positively responds to the climate and ecological emergency, meeting the needs of both the existing and future local communities.”
Teresa Borsuk, senior adviser at Pollard Thomas Edwards, said Knights Park was a “conscientious and considered development where people will truly feel at home.”
She added: “The whole project team, including both architectural practices, the many consultants, the client and developer, Hill, have strived to ensure that the success of Knights Park is consistent, from its fundamental ambitions of sustainable and zero carbon living, through its specific place making and green qualities, to the special and particular enjoyment of each of the homes.
And Alison Brooks, founder and creative director of Alison Brooks Architects, commented: “This Housing Design Award is a wonderful acknowledgement of what can be achieved when a client group prioritises sustainability at every level and invests in architectural quality.
“We are delighted for the University of Cambridge, Hill, PTE, AECOM and our wider project design team who have all invested a huge amount of care and effort into the realising Knights Park. Collectively we’ve brought exemplary innovation and quality of life to this beautiful new neighbourhood where our housing designs have integrated home-working - long before Covid was governing the headlines.”
The new houses include a wide range of sustainable features from high-performing robust insulation and triple glazing to photovoltaic panels, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems.
The energy centre in Eddington delivers heat and hot water to residents, with major system efficiencies reducing CO2 and energy wastage. The development-wide rainwater harvesting and sustainable urban drainage system is currently the UK’s largest - it recycles rainwater through natural drainage features before filtering and returning it to Hill’s new homes for use in washing machines and toilets. An underground refuse system negates the need for wheelie bins and promotes recycling.
Prices at Knights Park start from £689,950 for a two-bedroom penthouse apartment. For further information, visit knightspark-eddington.co.uk or call 01223 607200.