27 Jun 2019

RIBA National Award for Newnham

We are absolutely thrilled that our building for Newnham College, Cambridge has won a RIBA National Award.

54 projects won them this year: a bumper crop that spans the David and Goliath of British architecture. And it’s our third National Award: our first was for Regent High School (2016), and the second was for Vajrasana (2017).

It must have been our lucky day, because the project also received a commendation at the Schueco Awards, and our lovely site manager from SDC said he's never been prouder of a project...high praise indeed!

RIBA judges’ citation

The architect was initially asked to look at another part of the college site earmarked for development, but was also asked to reflect on the overall layout of the college grounds. Its analysis of the site led it to question the initial brief and to look at the college’s service yard area, on Sidgwick Avenue, as an alternative location for the new building.

Not only did this tidy up this back end of the college, it added an element that completed the college’s enclosure. Furthermore, by adopting a wrap-around plan, the new building was able to form an intimate landscaped courtyard that sits well and contrasts with the extensive grounds and large open spaces created by Basil Champneys.

The new building is perfectly positioned to accommodate the main college entrance and porter’s lodge. There is also a strong visual connection to the new main courtyard at the junction with the existing college buildings, which facilitates the integration of new and old.

The new building itself is both practical and elegant, drawing inspiration from its well-crafted predecessors. A large-format brick-clad concrete frame accommodates well-proportioned and comfortable rooms.