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New vision for the University of Cambridge’s city centre campus

A new masterplan for a city centre campus in Cambridge, designed by independent design, environment and sustainability consultancy LDA Design, has been approved by the University of Cambridge. The unique site is one of the university’s most prominent, and has a globally important cultural heritage, including as the former home of the Cavendish Laboratory where ground-breaking research took place, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. The masterplan establishes a strong spatial structure to regenerate the site. Existing buildings will be re-modelled and new buildings built to provide accommodation for academic departments and central facilities, such as a new student centre, as well as high quality city spaces and improved accessibility. LDA Design led the consultant team and worked closely with the University of Cambridge’s Estate Department, Cambridge City Council and English Heritage to ensure that the redevelopment optimised the site’s development capacity and was balanced with conserving buildings of heritage merit while delivering sustainable, flexible building uses interlinked with high quality urban spaces. Key aims of the masterplan include bringing new life to the site, conserving the existing historic buildings, establishing new public spaces, improving links and enhancing biodiversity. LDA Design is currently supporting the preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Cambridge City Council and the university, which will establish the future development policy framework for the site. The masterplan will be implemented in a number of phases. The first phase is being prepared by Bennetts Associates and is supported by LDA Design as masterplan advisors and landscape architects. Phase two will be submitted for planning in spring. Alister Kratt, Partner at LDA Design, said: “We are very pleased that the University of Cambridge has approved the masterplan for such a prestigious project. The challenge was to develop a masterplan that met the academic and administrative needs of the university while promoting the understanding of the site’s heritage and also transforming the city centre site into a new attractive, vibrant and sustainable environment for the future”.

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