Storey's Field Community Centre & Nursery
Eddington, North West Cambridge
McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA)
Storey’s Field Community Centre & Nursery is an impressive landmark for the newly created community of Eddington in North West Cambridge.
A joint venture by the University of Cambridge and Cambridge City Council, Storey’s Field Centre has been strategically designed by London based McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA). Their ambitious aspirations were to provide a public building of the highest-calibre, with a range of flexible spaces that will cater for a variety of uses, serving both the new community and the wider Cambridge public.
The 100-place nursery building has been arranged around three sides of a landscaped courtyard that provides an extensive but secure play space, with the fourth side forming the community centre. Each elevation of the scheme has been composed carefully by the architects with thoughtful inclusions such as the primary coloured niched windows in geometric shapes for the nursery children, as well as playful pinhole windows that mark the star constellations of Aquarius and Gemini.
Working in close partnership with the architects at MUMA, Taylor Maxwell assisted with the specification and delivery of the traditional facings and special shaped bricks, as well as the precast brick elements required for this important civic structure.
Following extensive consultation, including a tour of the manufacturing factory in Holland, a European stock brick was selected that could achieve the architect’s pre-requisite that all of the special shaped bricks required for the intricate facade details could be manufactured as a purpose made element. This would contribute to the high-calibre finish of the brickwork as outlined in the project’s original design concept.
The facing brick facade, built by subcontractor Anglian Brickwork, provides a rich sense of tactility to the building, not only in its engaging colouring, but also from the way in which it has been used. Bands of vertical stretcher bond brickwork span each entrance and extend around the building to the main hall of the community centre where this is developed as an irregular ‘strata’ of stretcher and soldier course bonds. A vertical ridged pattern of brickwork projects from the façade adding appeal, and at high level a band of Flemish bond brickwork with a combination of projecting, recessed and missing headers gives texture to the facade while also integrating the passive air extract route at the east and west ends of the hall. The striking detail of the brickwork is continued internally, inside the main hall of the community centre, serving as not only a visually pleasing elevation but also contributing to the softening of the acoustics of the tall room.
Deep precast brick soffits were manufactured off-site and supplied to create the sheltered thresholds to the building’s entrances.
As part of AECOM’s masterplan for the new community of Eddington to address connectivity, community, and environmental sustainability, it was important that project partners work closely with local businesses to support the new project. Therefore, in collaboration with a local merchant we coordinated the larger deliveries of facing bricks to their local yard who then delivered to the North West Cambridge site in smaller quantities, lessening the impact of traffic in the area and complying with the local site restrictions.
The community centre at Storey’s Field (a milestone in the masterplan for the new community of Eddington) has been received with exceptional support and the project has been awarded RIBA East Building of the Year 2018 as well as RIBA East Sustainability 2018. As a result the scheme has been shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize 2018 which will be announced in October.
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