The David Attenborough Building, Cambridge

A true working partnership with the original architect

The David Attenborough Building.
The David Attenborough Building. Credit: Alan Williams

Nicholas Hare Architects for University of Cambridge
Contract value: £37.9m
GIA: 13,411m²
Cost per m²: £2,826

This project represents a true working partnership between the original architect, Arup Associates led by Sir Philip Dowson, and Nicholas Hare. What has helped give the building a new lease of life is the change in use of the upper floors from closed laboratories and offices to light filled, open plan offices for the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

  • The David Attenborough Building.
    The David Attenborough Building. Credit: Alan Williams
  • The David Attenborough Building.
    The David Attenborough Building. Credit: Alan Williams
  • The David Attenborough Building.
    The David Attenborough Building. Credit: Alan Williams
  • The David Attenborough Building.
    The David Attenborough Building. Credit: Alan Williams
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The architect has treated the building fabric with the utmost respect, repairing and cleaning concrete, matching window detailing and replacing the lead cladding with a matching aluminium panel while recognising the shortcomings of the public access and the windswept first floor circulation spaces. This clear thinking has focused change and architectural intervention on the ground and first floors – a new grand stair is combined with a ramp to reach the first-floor entrance. The whale skeleton which hung outside for nearly 50 years was removed and cleaned and is now the centrepiece for the entrance pavilion, shop and meeting place.

Conservation Award
 

 

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