Design Approach – Exterior

The key features of the detailed design approach are:

  • A scale of development that is sensitive to the nearby Conservation Area and does not impact on surrounding buildings
  • Varied layout of buildings (the link building, the tower, north wing and south wing) to create character and architectural interest and allow landscaping to penetrate throughout
  • External façade designed to create variety and to break up the scale of the building

  • Creation of an easy to locate, inviting main entrance, of a lower height than the rest of the development, to create a welcoming point of access
  • Use of building materials that give the development a recognizable Cambridge character
  • Creation of a landmark feature that marks the gateway into Cambridge
  • Use of landscaping around and throughout the site to soften the building form, provide navigation pointers around the site, and create bio-diverse, healthy and inviting leisure spaces for staff and visitors.

Shaftesbury Road Elevation


Building character and materials

The buildings are being built using high quality materials sympathetic to the existing Cambridge building stock. There will be a limited palette of materials to create a unified scheme using light coloured brickwork, reconstituted stone and natural stone.

The below images illustrate the materials being used and show how the new development will fit in with other existing buildings in the area.

Examples of building materials locally which this development will look to complement


Key features of the building materials and characters include:

  • Good shading but also allowing the opportunity for natural light
  • Robust materials in terms of weathering so minimal maintenance is required
  • Deep window cills concealing secret gutters to reduce water run-off on the façade
  • A timber and aluminum composite window system used throughout


An example of what the slim landmark glass tower may look like

How high will the new building be?

The development has been designed to sit sensitively close by the Conservation Area. The new headquarters will range from 2-5 storeys (plus plant on the roof) to limit the visual impact of the new buildings on the surrounding area. With a building at these heights, Cambridge Assessment can ensure that the development is sympathetic to other building heights in the local area and endeavour to minimise overlooking.

The highest part of the development is a slim tower which comprises a lower and an upper section. The lower base will be constructed in the same light colour brick as the rest of the building to blend in. The upper part of the tower will include an outdoor terrace and a light and translucent element which may involve collaboration with an artist as part of the Public Art Strategy. The tower will provide an opportunity to create a landmark point on a gateway site coming into the city on the train.