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Ash Court, Girton College, Cambridge

Schueco Excellence Awards 2014: Winner, Sustainability. Entrant: Allies and Morrison Architects

North-east elevation. Each bedroom has a fixed main window alongside a louvred panel in front of an insulated vent.
North-east elevation. Each bedroom has a fixed main window alongside a louvred panel in front of an insulated vent.

One of the most energy-efficient student housing buildings in the UK, Ash Court, has been designed by Allies and Morrison Architects with a 100-year design life to future-proof against climate change.

The brick-clad, three-storey wing provides 50 en-suite study bedrooms at the Grade II* listed Girton College. The architects decided against a curtain walling system and instead used a super-insulated envelope with triple-glazing and powder-coated Schueco AWS 90.SI aluminium window profiles. These were combined with louvres, brise soleils, pvs and cills, supplied by Anglian Architectural.  

On the north-east elevation, for each bedroom unit a fixed main window is combined with a louvred panel in front of an insulated vent. Windows on the south-west are shaded with brise soleil on a secondary framing system. Air tightness was given a particularly high priority resulting in a rate of 1.83m3/m2/hr.

Window sensors automatically disable the heating when air quality is satisfactory. In anticipation of increased future cooling requirements, pipework was embedded into the concrete soffit to enable cooling with ground water. Some 190m2 of photovoltaics were incorporated into the steeply-pitched roof, generating 40% of electricity on-site. 

The building achieved a 40% reduction in CO2 beyond Part L2A (2006), and was rated BREEAM Excellent.

‘It’s still very rare to combine high architectural ambition with passive techniques,’ says judge Sunand Prasad. ‘Allies and Morrison have used those techniques skillfully to make lots of light and simplicity, with a very sophisticated typological approach.’ 

Gable end. Concrete frames the window ensemble and terracotta cladding.
Gable end. Concrete frames the window ensemble and terracotta cladding.

Schueco  Excellence Awards 2014: Commended, Education.

Praised by the judges for its impeccable details and sophistication, Ash Court was also the winner of the Sustainability category. 

Brise soleil on a secondary framing system provide shade on the south-west elevation, which also incorporates rooftop photovoltaics.
Brise soleil on a secondary framing system provide shade on the south-west elevation, which also incorporates rooftop photovoltaics.
The north-east elevation combines triple-glazing within a super-insulated envelope.
The north-east elevation combines triple-glazing within a super-insulated envelope.

Credits

Client: Girton College 

Architect: Allies and Morrison Architects

Structural engineer: Fluid Structures

Services engineer: Max Fordham

Main contractor: Mansell

Specialist contractor: Anglian Architectural

 

Ash Court was also commended in the Education category 

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