St Catharine’s College Cambridge

Transforming the heart of the College

St Catharine's College Hall Lantern View
Proposed new Dining Hall with skylight
St Catharine's College early sketch of hall
St Catharine's College Courtyard Sketch
St Catharine's College - Early Concept Sketch
Design concept
St Catharine's College early sketch of hall
St Catharine's College Courtyard Sketch
Creating a jewel in the courtyard
St Catharine's College - Early Concept Sketch

Won through invited design competition in 2019, we have designed a new vision for St Catharine’s College, featuring a remodelled Dining Hall with lantern rooflight at the heart of the campus. Following a process of forensic investigation evaluating heritage assets, social spaces and circulation routes, we have reordered programmatic elements in response to the College’s unique qualities, strengthening site coherence and ensuring accessibility for all users in line with the College’s vision.

St Catharine's College 1851
St Catharine's College Chapel Court with Walnut Tree
St Catharine's College Dining Hall 1914
St Catharine’s College has undergone many cycles of change over the last five hundred years. Our proposals have been developed with heritage and conservation in mind.
St Catharine's College 1851
Main Court in 1851
St Catharine's College Chapel Court with Walnut Tree
Walnut Tree Court before demolition of staircase, SCR and 1936 building
St Catharine's College Dining Hall 1914
Old Hall prior to being divided
St Catharine's College
Old Dining Hall gallery
St Catharine's College
Old Dining Hall gallery
St Catharine's College 1960s Building Construction
Following demolitions, as part of the 1960s redevelopment, the 17th Century Hall building was substantially altered.
St Catharine's College 1960s Building Construction
Following demolitions, as part of the 1960s redevelopment, the 17th Century Hall building was substantially altered.
St Catharine's College Existing Materials
St Catharine's College
St Catharine's College
Existing materials and context
St Catharine's College Existing Materials
Existing brickwork to Chapel with subtle blend of plum and terracotta hues. Existing decorative stonework has a light, warm hue in contrast to the stark, cold hue of the Portland stone to the 1960s building.
St Catharine's College
Glimpse of 1960s Extension
St Catharine's College
Main Court

The College has had a presence on site since 1473. Today, the Grade-I listed 17th Century Court designed by Robert Grumbold, a contemporary of Sir Christopher Wren, forms an integral part of the college experience. However, despite the prominent court, the site lacks spatial coherence and key spaces are difficult to access. Visually, the existing material palette of Portland Stone, render and brickwork denies any coherence between the College buildings that span 400 years.

Informed by an in-depth study of the individual diner, the Dining Hall will be remodelled both in proportion and height, and a new Gallery to the Hall borrows from the College’s architectural heritage, providing space for performances during events. Internal spaces will be upgraded including the Sherlock Library and Rare Books Collection – relocated to the main court for improved access, visibility and conservation. The kitchens and servery will also be consolidated for efficient operations to the Dining Hall and new ancillary function rooms. Eating and the preparation of food are central to the culture of the College, so the Hall is inevitably of high communal significance. The project is an opportunity to express the culture of the College as it is now. The design is a new layer of history which respects the old.

The Lantern aids natural ventilation and funnels in daylight and diffused sunlight. The Atrium provides ventilation route from basement and brings daylight into the deep plan.
The Lantern aids natural ventilation and funnels in daylight and diffused sunlight. The Atrium provides ventilation route from basement and brings daylight into the deep plan.
Axo showing the Hall, light-filled Atrium and generous Vestibule.
St Catharine's College, Chapel Court Proposed View
St Catharine's College
Chapel Court Elevation: A delicately inserted ensemble of forms that resonate with old and new. The Garden Room will provide an all-weather, wheelchair accessible route and meeting ground between the Chapel, Hall and McGrath Centre – the primary public spaces of the College.
St Catharine's College, Chapel Court Proposed View
Chapel Court proposed elevation
St Catharine's College
Chapel Court
St Catharine's College Kitchen Window View
St Catharine's College, Servery straight run no mezzanine
The Kitchen and Servery are to be enlarged and reconfigured to avoid crossing the Hall to serve food to other areas – a fundamental operational problem with the existing arrangement.
St Catharine's College Kitchen Window View
Kitchen
St Catharine's College, Servery straight run no mezzanine
Servery
St Catharine's College Library View
The Sherlock Library is an elegant, contemplative space, rich in details and situated with prominence and outlook over Main Court.
St Catharine's College Library View
The Sherlock Library is an elegant, contemplative space, rich in details and situated with prominence and outlook over Main Court.
St Catharine's College - 2nd Floor Atrium View
St Catharine's College - Stairway View
St Catharine's College Chapel Court from above
The Atrium has been carefully considered to resolve finished floors levels from the 17th Century with those of the 1960s building.
St Catharine's College - 2nd Floor Atrium View
Visualisation from within the new Atrium of the second floor.
St Catharine's College - Stairway View
St Catharine's College Chapel Court from above
Screenshot from sketch 3D model, showing proposal with glazed link to Chapel

A new glazed atrium and Garden Room to Chapel Court will orientate the user and integrate formerly incongruent spaces. Against the backdrop of Chapel Court, the Garden Room will become a vibrant space for use during conferences and an informal social space for students, allowing collaborative working to spill out from nearby study spaces.

The proposed material palette will unify the existing buildings in both texture and hue. The architectural language will sensitively respond to the site’s heritage whilst retaining a distinct, contemporary identity.

St Catharine's College, Queens Lane Proposed North View
St Catharine's College, Queens Lane North Existing View
New double-height oriel window to Queens’ Lane, giving prominence and outlook to a new 30-Person Dining Room and Fellows’ Room without disrupting the symmetry of the original design.
St Catharine's College, Queens Lane Proposed North View
Proposed View Looking North Along Queens’ Lane
St Catharine's College, Queens Lane North Existing View
Existing View Looking North Along Queens’ Lane
St Catharine's College Gallery View
The Dining Hall re-imagined, as seen from the first floor Gallery.

Further information

Data

Location
Cambridge
Project type
Workplace and learning, Heritage and adaptation
Budget
£10m
Status
Under construction
Floor area
2700m2

Credits

Client
St Catharine’s College, Cambridge
Gort Scott Team
Jay Gort, Fiona Scott, Chris Neve, Joe Mac Mahon, Sela-Jaymes Taylor, Amy Wong, Zeina Derry, Ciaran Scannell, Thom Wood-Jones
Contractor
SDC
Collaborators
Marcus Beale Architects (Heritage Consultant), EngineersHRW (Structural Engineer), Max Fordham (MEP and Sustainability, Lighting, Acoustics), Keith Winton Design (Catering Consultant), Henry Riley (Cost Consultant, Project Manager, Principal Designer), Turley (Planning Consultant), QODA (Rare Books Consultant), ARUP (Fire Consultant)

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