Seven Acres, housing with facing bricks; Brick Award Nominee 2016; Formation Architects; Photo: Louis Sinclair
Seven Acres, housing with facing bricks; Brick Award Nominee 2016; Formation Architects; Photo: Louis Sinclair

Seven Acres

The Seven Acres residential project in the UK garnered a whole series of awards before it was even completed. The prizes recognized not only the architecture, but also the concept of sustainability applied in the 128 newly constructed homes built using Wienerberger's Marziale bricks.

The Seven Acres new build housing project lies on the southern outskirts of Cambridge, where the intention is to create 3,500 new flats with communal facilities and green spaces.


The Challenge

The master plan for this project was developed by Formation Architects. The right-angled site is organised around a park-like communal space with tables, benches, pergolas and a barbecue area, as well as grassy playing fields and a children’s playhouse. Trees and planters border the space, which also has acoustic screening in the form of a glass wall. In addition, three small gardens can be used to grow vegetables.

The Solution

Formation Architects built a total of 128 residences –70 two and three-storey houses, and 58 flats in four-storey buildings which flank the entrances to the new neighbourhood. The different building types are arranged in long and short rows, are staggered individually, or paired like semi-detached houses. Recessed structures and varying heights, narrow storey-spanning windows, and small balconies give the place the appearance of having been playfully assembled with building blocks.

The design of the cohesive brick façades using Wienerberger’s Marziale brick, which lends the houses serenity and size, is particularly noteworthy. Projecting headers and incised ornamental surfaces create appealing aesthetics. Michael Richter of Formation Architects, says, “We chose a brick with an almost handmade quality.”

Oak timber completes the limited materials palette of the eight house types and three apartment buildings. All residences have a minimum ceiling height of 2.7 metres or feature gallery-like openings; sliding doors allow for variable connections; and terraces on all floors supplement the narrow gardens.

Strong insulation, managed ventilation with heat recovery, triple glazing, photovoltaics, green roofs, and rainwater collection all form part of the environmentally-conscious profile of this neighbourhood. Bicycle storage rooms in each house remind the residents how they themselves can contribute to saving energy.

Awards & Accolades

  • Shortlisted for the Wienerberger Brick Award 16
  • Ideal Home of the Year Award at the Blue Ribbon Awards 2013
  • Bronze Best Sustainable Development What House? Awards 2013
  • Overall Winner of the Best Development Multiple Units, UK for the International Property Awards 2012
  • Shortlisted for The Housing Design Awards 2012
  • Commended for the Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2012
  •  Highly commended for the House Builder Awards 2012

Project Information

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