Program: 73 affordable rent, key worker units
Client: University of Cambridge
Phase: completed

The first completed phase of the North West Cambridge Development, the building contains 73* affordable one and two bed apartments for University key workers. Two simple volumes stand perpendicular, defining the North and West edges of the block; the 5 storey building facing Veteran Oak Gardens masters the 3 storey Ridgeway terrace (* The South facing volume containing 27 apartments is by Witherford Watson Mann architects).
We agreed that all homes within Ryle Yard should be dual aspect to ensure excellent levels of natural light and cross ventilation. To this end, two circulation typologies were adopted: a walk-up stairwell with two dwellings per level and an external access gallery serving up to six homes.

The Veteran Oak frontage is simple and dignified; the gault brickwork to the base is articulated by a fine rhythm of concrete ribs and string-courses. Individual entrances to the ground floor apartments underline the informal 'village green' character; a communal entrance at the junction with the Ridgeway leads through to the elegant access galleries serving the upper levels.

The apartments along the Ridgeway are designed to be viewed obliquely with subtle concrete linings to the ground floor windows and frequent front doors. Apartments are paired either side of a staircase - a familiar Cambridge college arrangement, but entered from the street rather than from a courtyard. Each stack of apartments forms a unit similar in scale to a large town house.

On the interior of the city block, Ryle Yard is intimate and leafy, and residents have access to shared gardens. The generous galleries contribute to the sociable, public feel. There are no private balconies, instead the scheme offers a series of shared spaces to support social interaction within the new neighbourhood.