Designed by UK architects Stanton Williams to expand the facilities of the prestigious Cambridge Judge Business School, the project combines the original structure with a new wing: 5000 square meters designed to bring all the school’s activities under one roof
Project Stanton Williams – Photos Hufton + Crow – Article Laura Ragazzola
Cambridge definitely brings luck to Stanton Williams, the renowned London-based studio founded in 1985 by Alan Stanton and Paul Williams. Years after having completed the Sainsbuy Laboratory – 11,000 square meters in concrete and glass that received the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2012, the most important British architectural award – Stanton Williams are back in the English university city with a second important project: the addition to the Judge Business School, one of the top ten business schools in the world.
Opened in January in the heart of Cambridge, taking the place of two old university hostels, the new building is literally welded to the facade of the 19th-century hospital, where the Judge School was founded 25 years ago.
The client wanted to keep the spaces of the original facility intact, an iconic building on the Cambridge campus, while adding new spaces and services to adapt to new challenges in economics research and education. The challenge was to generate a sort of symbiosis between the old and the new, tradition and modernity.
The result is an elegant volume anchored to the older part, combining maximum functional quality with a very striking image: a refined, understated (and very British) work of architecture.
Gavin Henderson, director of Stanton Williams, explains: “The Simon Sainsbury Centre embodies the identity of the school while responding to its present needs. Above all, it represents a new level in the progressive transformation of this marvelous historical site.”
Those who visit the Judge School today have the sensation of walking through two ‘parallel worlds’: on one side the volume of the hospital, redesigned on several occasions since its construction in 1860, all the way to the last ‘revision’ in the 1990s by the architect John Outram, when it was adapted for the Judge School; on the other side, the new 5000 square metre Simon Sainsbury Centre, consisting of two lectures theatres, seminar rooms, faculty spaces, meeting rooms, offices, a kitchen and a very luminous dining hall facing the green campus courtyard.
There are also a large reception area and break out spaces, designed as a passage between the old and new parts of the school. Everything has been designed to allow maximum flexibility, with spaces that adapt to changing needs and facilitate interaction and teamwork of teachers, researchers, staff and students.
We should also mention the project’s focus on energy performance ( BREEAM Excellent rating) and comfort, with solutions to maximize natural light and ventilation. The palette of natural materials – stone, wood and glass – create a sensation of warmth, and a uniform tonality.