An Lac House

Client Cambridge Housing Society and
Abbeyfield Cambridgeshire Vietnamese Society
Type New build
Use Social housing
Date 1996

A grand ceremonial entrance creates a dramatic welcome to the sheltered accommodation designed for elderly Vietnamese who settled in Cambridge after escaping North Vietnam in the 1970s. This compact building is dominated by its roof, which takes its cue from the traditional Vietnamese style of building.

Despite a limited site, the building contains ten homes with communal dining room, sitting room, worship space, kitchen and laundry within three wings enclosing a courtyard. Fully glazed external doors give residents access to the courtyard on one side and to individual gardens for cultivation on the other.  Administrative accommodation and a housekeeper’s flat are contained within the roof space.

The project won the 1996 Redland Pitched Roofs Awards and was awarded a commendation in the 1997 David Unwin Design Awards.

“Whilst it is sensitive to its neighbours and respectful of its context, there is a quiet confidence in the freshness and simplicity of its design.” (Redland Pitched Roofs Awards Assessment)