K1 Co-housing, Cambridge

Project Data

Client: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge Cohousing Ltd 
Lead Consultant: CAR Ltd
Lead Designer: Jim Ross Car Ltd
Architects Assistant: Emily Partridge CAR ltd
Project Manager: Adam Broadway CAR Ltd
Passive House Consultant: Andy Brown CAR Ltd
Cohousing Consultant: Stephen Hill CAR Ltd
Planning Consultants: Peter Studdert CAR Ltd
Quantity Surveyor: Brenner LLP
Landscape Architect: MARK Projects
Contract Value: Confidential
Procurement: 2 Stage Design and Build
RIBA Stages: A-D
Design and Build Archtects; Mole Ltd, with TOWN and Trivselhus

Building a community

The K1 cohousing project was the UK’s first enabled cohousing scheme. The site, known as K1, is part of the Orchard Park development in North West Cambridge.

CAR Ltd established and enabled the Cohousing group to develop a finical, legal, and internal structure as well as facilitating the development of the design brief for the project. The client briefing study process, which I designed and facilitated formed the basis of the final client brief and provided a foundation for subsequent design stages. With our help Cambridge Cohousing Ltd was set up, to be owned and managed by members who have come together to, “build a place which is beautiful, environmentally, socially and financially sustainable, friendly and fun.” The design for the layout of the built elements creates a series of social spaces of varying scales and characters. The proposal maximized the benefits of natural site resources, sun, rain and existing landscape features, and mitigated against negative conditions such as noise and pollution from the A14.

It was a necessity to have a clear hierarchy of decision making from high level, philosophical, social and decision-making processes, through negotiating the relationship of public and private spaces, community and individual requirements, site choreography, building standards down to look and feel. Workshops provided the group with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to be able to make informed decisions as a group. We ran open days with the group to grow the number involved for the 12 households up to the 26 required to make the project viable.

K1 Cohousing group ‘the group’ was made up of 20+ households who, assisted by CAR Ltd commissioned a construction partner to Design and Build an intentional community of 42 dwellings and a common house, gardens and other shared facilities. The project is now built and occupied, now known as Marmalade Lane, the project has won many awards and I am still in touch with the community and am proud to have played a part its establishment.

Ths project developed an interest in community-led design and an enjoyment in working with complex client groups. Enabling client groups to make informed decisions and leading them through the initial stages of projects to identify key project constraints fosters creative and innovative design responses.

K1 aka Marmalade Lane has won numerous awards.