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In 2014 Walters & Cohen won an invited competition to design new accommodation for Newnham College, one of the 31 colleges of the University of Cambridge.

The original brief was to design a new 75-bedroom student residence on the tennis courts. The College had two other projects in mind, and we created a masterplan that considered all their ambitions in a wider context. This led to an alternative proposal: demolition of a building at the end of its life to make space for our new building, knitting in among those by Basil Champneys. Inspired by the same arts and crafts tenet of ‘a truth to materials’, the contemporary hit-and-miss detail in handmade brick complements but does not mimic Champneys’ buildings.

The Dorothy Garrod building comprises a new entrance, a welcoming Porters’ Lodge, conference facilities, a rooftop gym, staff offices, meeting and supervision rooms, 86 generous en-suite student bedrooms, kitchen/social areas with plenty of space to cook and eat together, and a café that invites students to linger and work in the heart of the College.

We worked with Newnham’s project team, special interest groups, students, staff and Fellows to ensure that the building meets the College’s needs and is entirely unique to them. The new frontage creates a stronger presence on Sidgwick Avenue without imposing on the historic buildings and gardens. Landscape works are integral to the design, with the building wrapping around a new courtyard garden, and carefully considered interstitial spaces improve visual and physical links between buildings. Integrating the student residence into the main belly of the College has created a stronger sense of community, and the rooftop terrace allows Newnhamites to appreciate their beautiful College from a new perspective.

More photos to follow shortly.

Client Newnham College, Cambridge
Total value Confidential
Completion October 2018
Area 6,900 m2
QS Aecom
Structure AKT II
Building Services Max Fordham LLP
Landscape BHSLA
Planning consultant Savills
Project manager Gleeds
Acoustics Max Fordham LLP
Contractor SDC
BREEAM consultant Eight Associates
Lighting consultant Nulty
Building control MLM
Artist Cathy de Monchaux
Arboricultural consultant TLP
Visual art consultant Commission Projects
Heritage consultant Beacon Planning
Presentation model Bullfrog Models

Education Residential


  Photographs / Drawings

©Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

©Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

Site photo (March 2018)

Site photo (January 2018)