King's College Cambridge
Stephen Taylor Court is a low carbon, long life accommodation for students and fellows in a new community south-west of the city.
The scheme aspires to provide high quality enduring architecture which complements the Conservation Area setting, delivered with an exemplar approach to sustainability. It is made up of 84 new homes for graduates, fellows and their families, as well as generous gardens and communal areas.
The project is composed of three crescent terraces forming an open sided court, a new graduate villa to complement the Barton Road elevation, and the refurbishment and extension of an existing Victorian Villa.
Targeting a 100-year design life, the scheme uses high-quality materials which emanate a sense of permanence; these are buildings which are designed to last. Externally, soft waterstruck gault clay bricks and handmade plain roof tiles imply a sense of monolith and reference surrounding vernacular materials.
The brief demanded low carbon emissions, Passivhaus standards and stipulated that the scheme should be designed for a lifetime of 100 years.
Alongside the high standards of Passivhaus building performance the project is being assessed against a bespoke sustainability matrix with an holistic view of sustainability within the contexts of the immediate site and global climate. This matrix demonstrates excellence in health and wellbeing, landscape and nature, water, materials and waste, community and neighbourhood, and construction impacts.
It is expected Croft Gardens will be carbon negative for the first 7-10 years of operation, driven in a large part by the embodied sequestered carbon through use of CLT for its structure and timber as an internal finishing material.
The principal set-piece is characterised as an open court, suggesting calm, simple architecture which praises the landscape and describes the dwellings it accommodates.
The architecture is defined by a careful balance of verticality and horizontality; vertically stacked windows and dormers with expressed rainwater pipes reference residential courts whilst horizontal ribbing subtly emphasizes the sweep of the crescent curves, responding to the tension and compression held in the crescent form.
An understated play in the brick textures, introducing courses of tile and rotated headers, enriches the vertical and horizontal rhythms and acts with the deep window reveals to enliven the calm architecture.