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Alison Brooks Villas, Accordia, Cambridge, 2006

Semi-detatched typology: a somewhat Loosian flavour and free plan disguises the symmetry of these villas

Accordia is famous for its high standard of design, becoming the first housing development to win a Stirling Prize (in 2008). Alison Brooks contributed four semi-detached brick villas to the estate, which complicate the type by inserting a triple-height atrium and stairwell at the centre, and staggering the floors. The somewhat Loosian flavour of this strategy, which affords views down across levels into the garden, is reinforced by the patinated metal roof, which comes to a conventional eaves at the front, but curves down over the rear facade like a reversed Steiner House. The elevations have an asymmetrical smattering of windows reflecting the freedom of the plan - and disguising the symmetry of the semi-detached type. A glazed porch covers the ground level at the front and back, where it is surmounted by a balcony, and at the top of the house a small roof terrace contributes to the transparency of the garden facade.



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