From the playful circular windows to the brick walls to its enclosed garden, Storey's Field Centre and Eddington Nursery illustrates how meticulous attention to detail can make all the difference for its users. Designed by London-based architecture practice MUMA, the building was completed this past January for the University of Cambridge, and is currently a contender for the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize.
“This is the very highest quality architecture. It shows how an architect can add joy, an enhanced experience of materials and human dimension to every part of a building,” the jury wrote in their report.
With an internal area of 2,248.00 m², the community center and nursery surround a central landscaped courtyard that offers children a place to play without compromising their privacy.
The high-ceilinged Community Hall was designed to serve as a new, multi-functional civic center and town hall that can accommodate a variety of community events. Seats are also integrated into the Hall's external wall so that neighbors can rest or socialize.
The Hall's interior balances aesthetics and function. The space is naturally ventilated by an underground labyrinth, while patterned brickwork of the enclosing wall provides good acoustics. Blinds can be dropped or raised to adjust the amount of daylight. A sculptural staircase leads to the roof.
“To address this enhanced symbolic value for the community, the architects stepped the building sidewards to address a longer view in the masterplan, and set it back to create a gathering space outside the Hall and a parents’ drop-off space outside the Nursery,” the jury report states.
The Community Center and the Nursery are on track to receive BREEAM Excellent and Outstanding certifications, respectively. Other sustainability elements include underfloor heating derived from a central combined heat and power plant, a rainwater main supply for the toilets, and a new bus service and cycle route. A biodiverse landscape design includes re-homed orchard trees that were no longer commercially viable.
The jury praised the project as exhibiting “the very best in British architectural design, when it is this good it offers ideas, skill and care in ways that transform the human use and experience of this building at every opportunity.”
All photos courtesy of 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize.
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