King’s College received several wins for two recent college building projectsR BOED/FLICKR

The 2020 Cambridge Design and Construction Awards have recognised severel buildings and conservation projects undertaken by Cambridge colleges and faculties.

Building works commissioned for the Chemistry Department and King’s College jointly received the Best New Building award for projects costing over £2 million.

The annual awards are run by Cambridge City Council, and are sponsored by the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI). This year’s judging panel was chaired by Dame Fiona Reynolds, master of Emmanuel College and former chair of the National Trust. 

Judges included architects and engineers, including city councillor Katie Thornburrow. Most of the panel, though, was made up of trustees of the CFCI.

The judging panel commended the Faculty of Chemistry’s Chemistry of Health research facility building for overcoming difficult circumstances, describing it as: “a moment of joy and a building of architectural merit on a difficult site responding well to the context, resolving circulation problems within and between the existing buildings and with a clever internal organisation and circulation.” 

Awarding this building the Best New Building Award, they continued: “the materials are well chosen and detailed and will weather well over time.”

King’s College’s Cranmer Road graduate student housing was the joint recipient of the Best New Building Award. The judges called this project, constructed to integrate with existing Victorian buildings, “an exceptional building with good materials and a high environmental aspiration which will inspire others to follow”. 

It was built according to Passivhaus principles, which prioritise energy efficiency and comfort. The same project also received the award for Sustainability and Engineering. 

The College also received two awards for its recent Bodley’s court project: joint winner of the Craftsmanship Award and of Best Conservation, Alteration, or Extension. As part of their restoration effort a Northamptonshire slate mine was reopened to supply suitable replacement roof tiles for the buildings. The same project received recognition at the 2020 UK Roofing awards, winning Roof of the Year.

The Old Granary and Counting House conservation and renovation project at Darwin College also jointly won the Best Conservation Building and the Craftsmanship Award. Judges commented on the success of the project given the poor state of the original buildings, saying “the sensitive resolution of these difficulties whilst maintaining and improving the internal character to make it a delightful place to live and work”.


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Fitzwilliam College’s MCR ‘The Grove’ received a commendation for its renovation and extension efforts in the Best Conservation, Alteration, or Extension category, while the Seeley Historical Library received the same commendation for its recent repair work.

These awards marked a departure from previous years, with a great deal more recognition for University and college buildings. In the 2019 awards, only one university building project, the extension of The Simon Sainsbury Centre at the Judge Business School, won in any category.