LFA evening offered another chance to see Royal Docks winners

North West Cambridgeshire
AECOM explains sustainable nature of North West Cambridge site at LFA event

An event at the Buidling Centre, held as part of the London Festival of Architecture, focused on WSUD (water-sensitive urban design) and provided another opportunity to see the top 20 entries to the LI’s Royal Docks competition, as well as to hear from the designers of the winning six schemes.

Introducing the evening, Sue Illman, whose presidency is drawing to a close, reiterated what an important theme water had been in the presidency. She said that while the entries to the competition showed some brilliant ideas, it was also clear that many entrants had not understood the difference between WSUD and SuDS. Only those coming recently out of education really know what WSUD means, she added.

Mike Henderson, associate director of sustainability at AECOM, said ‘We have recently been working a lot on masterplanning for SuDS,’ describing projects as far-flung as Australia and Shanghai. But one of the most exciting is the North West Cambridge development where AECOM is the masterplanner although, as Henderson acknowledged, much of the detailed work with water is being done by URS.

‘This is the most pioneering water project in the UK,’ Henderson said. It will use less than 80 litres of potable water per person per day, where the average is nearer 150 litres. The development is an area of high flood risk, and by gathering and holding all the water from roads and filtering it, the scheme can both reduce the risk of flooding and provide enough water for non-potable needs. All houses will have two water supplies, with the non-potable water used for applications such as flushing toilets. This is a considerably cheaper approach than having each individual property recycling its own water.

The video on WSUD produced by the LI with CIRIA, AECOM and Arup, was also shown. How encouraging to learn that the principles that it explains are actually being put into practice.

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