51 Hills Road
The greenest office in Cambridge
Sitting on a main street which runs all the way through Cambridge, this small office building is a reaction to the area’s historical context.
Behind the site sits six model homes from the 1860s, opposite is the Great Eastern Hotel and the botanical gardens are nearby. The building is surrounded on two sides by listed buildings. The street facade relates in both scale and materials to the adjacent Claremont Terrace, and the scheme’s complex three dimensionality is designed to engage with these different surrounding buildings.
Despite being situated on a tight site, the project responds to its prominent position on the high street with generous threshold spaces, enclosed courtyards and setbacks. The tallest point acts as a marker as it is approached from the high street, and the chimneys – which enable naturally driven stack ventilation – give a presence on the street.
Due to the gap site’s historical context, we went through a complex planning process to develop the right proposal for this location. This included discussions with the neighbours and drawing what they would see of the building from their windows. The building’s form is highly sculptural and to design this we made many different models and very much thought of the design from the inside out.
The result is a BREEAM Excellent low-energy speculative office building which is designed to be flexible, allowing for different internal layouts and changes in tenants. Externally high-quality materials of brick and stone have been carefully detailed and the environmental elements are integrated into the architectural expression, while inside a limited palate of in-situ concrete and exposed timber offers a neutral but robust interior.
- Project type
- Workplace and learning
- Completed 2015
- Floor area
- UKCSA Best Cast Stone on a Contemporary Design Project, Winner
- Civic Trust Awards, Commendation
- Brick Awards, Winner
- RICS National Awards, Commendation
- BCO National Awards, Commendation
- BCO Regional Awards, Winner
- RIBA National Awards, Winner
- RICS East of England Awards, Winner
- RIBA East Awards, Winner
- Cambridge Design and Construction Awards, Commendation