Clare Nash Architecture Ltd (CNA) was approached by a developer looking to build eight houses on the site of an old farmyard in Cambridgeshire.  The intention was that young families looking to move out of the city could settle down here.  Our designs for this new build housing project were inspired by vernacular architecture and informed by research carried out for Clare Nash’s book.

Due to timescale clashes the extent of CNA’s involvement was only to produce a sketch scheme, but it was a terrific chance to design collaboratively and apply some of the principles of contemporary vernacular design.  For more information on the thinking behind this design please read this blog post.

Although the houses use the same materials and are similar in size and proportions, each has a unique feature to define it and give the scheme a varied character.


  1. Overview of scheme
  2. Sketch plan
  3. Large corner window to blur the boundary between inside and outside
  4. A basement increases the saleable area of the house and creates a cozy space with natural light from glass panels in the garden
  5. A glazed strip encompassing the walls and roof over a central double-height space
  6. Garages close to the site entrance keep cars out of the central space, and office space above garages allows for a live/work situation
  7. Central alleyways mediate between the public courtyard and people’s private back gardens
  8. Angled shutters allow plenty of daylight to enter the house, but maintain a certain level of privacy
  9. Central planted courtyard