Fit out and refurbishment specialist ISG Dean+Bowes officially unveiled the ultimate in ecolearning at the topping out ceremony for the new studio extension to Cambridge University's School of Architecture, the highly respected centre for architectural learning and research.
Providing a unique and inspiring environment to architectural students, the new timber-framed studio is a monument to 21st century eco-friendly best practice in the built environment.
The £1.4M project consists of a workshop at ground level and a naturally lit, versatile timber framed studio space on the first floor. It sits behind the School's main building in Scroope Terrace, a striking Georgian Terrace in Central Cambridge which is being refurbished by ISG Dean+Bowes.
The fit-out specialist is translating the design of architects' Freeland Rees Roberts of Cambridge (principal architect for the Terrace) and Mole Architects of Prickwillow (architect for the Studio) to protect their vision and make sure there is no conflict in the build translation. ISG Dean+Bowes has worked pro-actively to overcome any design issues and anticipate any problems in order that the work can be delivered in advance of any set deadlines.
With space limited due to planning constraints to preserve both existing trees and the integrity of the listed Georgian terrace, the new-build has been carefully tailored to slot into a tight site. The first floor is larger than the ground floor and is built over the existing car park. Access to the new studios is provided by an enclosed bridge connected to the rear of the terrace and an open bridge connected to the landmark 1958 extension, designed by St John Wilson.
The building creates a central cloistered garden space between the new building and the existing extension and provides a physical link between the group of buildings that make up the School of Architecture.
The design of the new build, with its timber frames and exposed structure, is a model of sustainable construction for all of the budding architects that pass through its doors. The thinking behind the building, and the process of construction, has already been incorporated into the students' coursework. Natural materials have been used and the environmental impact of the building has been further minimised by the use of efficient construction and energy systems.
Panel cladding to the building is a large scale version of weather boarding, recessed between the timber columns, whilst the north lights in the saw-tooth roof provide even, natural light without solar gain. A low-energy cooling strategy has been developed by Max Fordham LLP, using high-level windows for night-time cooling, good cross-ventilation and an innovative water-based thermal cooling system. The approach has been tested by extensive thermal modelling, and will be verified by monitoring energy in use. The building will form the basis of research projects being developed by the Architecture and Engineering schools.
ISG Dean+Bowes' MD Jim Parker is delighted that the company has played a prominent role in such a high-profile, innovative eco-design project: "We've worked closely with both the client and the architect throughout and have enjoyed the experience of engaging creatively with individuals who are highly-respected in their fields and have an expert knowledge of sustainable building and development.
"The team was aware from the outset that the building would attract significant attention and that all works would be closely scrutinised because it is the Department of Architecture and that in itself has provided us with a stimulating and enjoyable challenge."
Mole Architect's founder partner, Meredith Bowles comments: "This building has an added significance because it is a site of education and the students who use these faculties are the individuals who we hope will be the future influencers of architecture and design."
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ISG Dean+Bowes provides a broad range of fit-out and refurbishment services to property owners and operators in the retail, lifestyle, education, healthcare and commercial sectors. The company is part of ISG plc, the UK's leading construction services group.
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