Ash Court, Girton College

RIBA Regional Awards 2014: East

Ash Court, Girton College
Ash Court, Girton College · Credit: Nick Guttridge

Ash Court, Girton College
Allies & Morrison for Girton College Cambridge
GIA 1,765m2

This Cambridge college, established in 1869, was the country’s first residential college for ladies and became mixed-co-educational in 1976. Set two miles out of the historic centre, it is a rambling Victorian pile set in 33 acres of grounds. The new student accommodation takes all its cues from the existing building with regard to form and materials.

The bedroom facade faces east, giving morning light and stunning views over the gardens. Common rooms meanwhile face west, becoming part of communal courtyards that interact with the existing complex of buildings.

But this building doesn’t just look good. It uses its site and responds to it, the articulation of the facades being part of a bigger environmental strategy. With triple-glazing, MVHR, window sensors to control each room’s heating, a thermal mass strategy and integrated PVs, its performance is outstanding.