Cowan Court, Cambridge

A bold and extremely well thought through contemporary interpretation

Credit: Johan Dehlin

6a architects for Churchill College

Contract value: £9.22m

GIA: 2,420m²

This new hall of residence captures much of the ethos behind the original design for Churchill College but gives us a bold and extremely well thought through contemporary interpretation of it.

A courtyard of similar proportions and scale to the existing residential courtyards is given a distinctive twist. All rooms are on the outside of the building, making the most of views and avoiding internal overlooking. However what makes the interiors distinctive is the exploitation of the timber construction which is a further reference to the expressive concrete structure of the original buildings.

 
  • Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • Credit: Johan Dehlin
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Hefty ceiling timbers are exposed, revealing the structure and giving character to the rooms. Otherwise the interiors are kept quiet. Not so with the exterior which is the most distinctive aspect of the building. Though seemingly square in plan each elevation is curved. Not only that, each level has a slightly different arc so that each elevation is animated by curved shadows of differing depths giving it intrigue. 

This building is an important addition to the built form of Churchill College and continues, in a special and sensitive way, the legacy left by Sheppard Robson.


See the other winners of the RIBA Regional Awards 2017 - East

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