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Cowan Court

Cowan Court

Education & Public Sector

 

Location: Cambridge
Architect: 6a architects
Client/Owner: Churchill College, University of Cambridge
Structural Engineer: Price & Myers
Timber Engineer: B&K Structures Ltd, Engenuiti
Main Contractor/Builder: SDC Builders LTD
Window Joinery: Flexwood
Facade Consultant: Harry Montresor Partnership
Wood Supplier: Bartram Timber Ltd, BCA Materiaux Anciens
Wood Species: European Whitewood Spruce, European Oak, Tulipwood

Cowan Court is a new, environmentally sound 68-room hall of residence for Churchill College, originally founded in 1958. Three storeys of student bedrooms are arranged around an inner square court, echoing the original Sheppard Robson buildings. Rather than a traditional grass quad, the court is filled with densely planted birch trees which shelter an informal garden. The board marked concrete found in traditional courts has been replaced by dark timber reclaimed from French railway carriages. The brown weathered boards blend harmoniously with the red­brown tones of the original blockwork. This patina is offset by windows of a new, lighter joinery oak. The structure of the building is made of laminated soft wooden beams and posts which remain exposed in most areas, giving rhythm and natural depth to the interior and echoing the original buildings.