Abode – urban living in a rural setting

Joint winner of the Sunday Times British Homes Awards’ Development of the Year (with more than 100 homes) Countryside’s Abode community proves that volume housing does not have to look and feel like a faceless executive estate

This exemplary development, located at Great Kneighton in Cambridge, combines contemporary design and traditional principles to create an urban village in a unique semi-rural setting. This is a modern development with innovative and flexible homes that reflect the way people live today.

Part of the wider Great Kneighton community, which Countryside is creating in one of the must sought after areas of Cambridge, Abode offers a selection of cleverly designed homes, which range from studio apartments through to aspirational six-bedroom houses, all right next door to a brand new 120-acre country park.

From country park to contemporary homes
Residents will be able to enjoy a range of outdoor facilities within the country park, which will include ‘growing your own’ in provided allotments, playing fields for the new secondary school and adventure play areas.

The first phase of the country park has been completed, with the planting of 15,000 new trees. The park will also contain areas of woodland but already has four ponds, which includes a 50,000 sq m bird reserve that is proving popular with a wide variety of feathered friends.

The seamless mix of contemporary houses and apartments are all located across three distinct zones, helping the development become a modern take on traditional Cambridge architecture.

Abode’s Great Court feature creates a dramatic entrance with two striking ‘marker’ buildings, which reference the scale of historic Cambridge college gatehouses with their decorative metal sheet cladding and perforated graphics.

Immediately behind the Great Court are the Urban Mews, a series of streets with three-storey ‘saw tooth’ houses punctuated with perpendicular green corridors. Laying further back, Green Lanes feature loose clusters of barn-style homes with private walled gardens. The properties are finished with black lap-boarding, reminiscent of traditional outbuildings.

A local and commuting community
The development is ideally situated for those wishing to live within easy reach of Cambridge city centre, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

With rail services from Cambridge to Kings Cross taking approximately 50 minutes, Abode based commuters can use the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway and local bus service which provides direct access to Cambridge Station.

The creation of a supporting network of new cycle lanes also provides a fast and fitter way into the city centre and surrounding area. Abode also benefits from excellent road links, giving access to the M11 motorway and Stansted Airport.

Providing choice and living space
The wide range of houses and apartments have been intelligently designed to fully use the living space available and make the most of natural light. This approach has created contemporary, airy and flexible living spaces suited to today’s homeowner needs.

Many homes feature large expanses of glass with full height glazing opening onto private outside space. This approach breaks the boundary between internal and external spaces and joins the homes with the surrounding landscape.

To create additional choice houses are available with a range of internal layouts and apartments feature open plan living spaces with private balconies, some of which stretch the entire width of the apartment.

The high quality specification includes premium kitchens fitted with sleek, handleless units, and bathrooms with chrome finishes and tiled flooring. This is complemented with a range of energy efficient integrated appliances that makes these homes ideal for modern urban living.

The wider environment is also an important consideration to the Abode community. Where possible build materials are provided locally and from renewable, sustainable and recyclable sources. All homes have cycle storage areas and the development has a car club. Some of the houses have solar thermal tiles and a selection of apartments also have photovoltaic panels.

To date over 125 homes have been built at Abode, 116 of which were completed in 2013, with an average selling price of £412,000.

Countryside always says that it believes that where its customers live matters and that they are passionate about creating places people aspire to live. At Abode they have certainly delivered a development with a true sense of belonging and created a place people really do love.