Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery
The largest capital project undertaken in the history of the University of Cambridge, the North West Cambridge Development is a mixed-use scheme, constructed across two phases of work. When complete, the North West Cambridge Development will act as a new district and extension to the city of Cambridge.
One of the first aspects of the project to be completed and a key part of it, Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery is a landmark community centre and performance hall positioned at the heart of Eddington. Designed by award-winning McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA), the Centre has widely recognised for its look, use of materials and attention to detail. It is currently in the running for a 2018 Wood Award in the ‘Commercial & Leisure’ category.
This builds on great success already achieved earlier this year at the RIBA. Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery won RIBA East Award 2018, RIBA East Sustainability 2018 – sponsored by Geberit, RIBA East Building of the Year – sponsored by Artifice Press and RIBA National Award 2018.
The 100 place nursery is arranged around three sides of a landscaped courtyard. On the fourth side, is the civic scaled community centre including a 180-seat main hall. The main hall, with a capacity of 180 people, is 15 metres high and acoustically engineered to provide an ideal event space for theatre, music and dance.
The principle rooms are lined in oak panelling. The main hall, influenced by the dining halls and chapels of Cambridge colleges, uses an exposed, articulated timber structure. The slender spruce glulam portal frames spring from the oak panelled base and pass in front of a backdrop of ash veneered panelling; the tones of the timber gradually lightening up the height of the space.
A structural ceiling of layered ash joists, battens and veneered plywood conceals air extract routes for the hall’s passive ventilation strategy. The hall provides a venue for a range of activities and its acoustics can be adjusted to suit. At the west end, an ash spiral stair is a sculptural element wrapped by a curved veneered ash plywood balustrade. The nursery’s turret roofed classrooms are clad in western red cedar as are the soffits to the covered nursery cloister.
Each room within the Centre benefits from views out to the surrounding landscapes and the single storey reflects the traditional civic buildings of churches and town halls. Eddington has been designed to high levels of sustainability and the Centre also adheres to these principles. Designed to BREEAM Outstanding level, the building is dual aspect providing natural cross ventilation, connected to the site wide district heating network and the roof incorporates photovoltaic panels.
Farrans Construction Ltd was the main contractor while Aecom acted as the structural engineer. C W Fields carried out the joinery.
The Storey’s Field Centre fulfils a social and cultural role for residents at Eddington, as well as the wider Cambridge community. The venue has live music events planned throughout the year with local award winning promoters Green Mind. In the autumn the centre will host gigs with the Cambridge Jazz Festival and events as part of the Festival of Ideas.
The Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery is part of the North West Cambridge Development. The scheme includes a mixture of accommodation for graduates, university staff and private sale; academic facilities; community facilities such as a primary school, community centre, health centre, supermarket and local shops; a hotel; care home; sustainable transport including cycle ways; sporting facilities; and open public spaces.
Driven by the University of Cambridge, the scheme was initially put forward in response to potential problems over the next quarter of a century. The University is consistently recognised as an academic world leader and is continually looking to grow and develop. With student and staff numbers set to increase over the coming decades, it was clear that affordable accommodation needed to be provided for postgraduates and staff.
The development of further academic facilities will also allow the University to forge stronger links with businesses and embark on more research projects.
The first phase of work focused on the development of the local centre, including a supermarket, retail units, a primary school, nursery, doctors’ surgery, hotel and police touchdown office, as well as open green space for formal and informal recreation.