University of Cambridge’s ‘Homerton College Dining Hall’ designed by architects Feilden Fowles, is the UK’s best new timber building, having won the Gold Award at the 2022 Wood Awards.
Elegant and impressive, the dining hall was praised by the judges for how it celebrates the integrity and inherent beauty of its materials, from its design through to its incredible craftsmanship, and for the space it creates which is both welcoming and inspiring to students.
The dining hall, buttery, kitchens, and associated amenities give rise to a bright, airy, and efficient setting by day, which can transform into a dramatic ceremonial setting at night. The ash-lined buttery serves as a café and provides an area to socialise or study.
At the heart of the hall is an impressive timber structure with no interrupting supports that allows for a large, clear space; breath taking to building professionals, educators, and students alike.
Each sweet chestnut glulam truss in the hall is formed of four members which are connected at a central node and to the full height columns on each side, while above these beams an engineered timber roof deck lends lateral stability.
This combination of high performing engineered timber with traditional joinery achieves an elegance, revealed in the butterfly truss design, which echoes traditional collegiate halls in its aesthetics, but also exploits the compressive strength of timber in its structure.
The Wood Awards building judges, a team of world leading professionals led by Jim Greaves of Hopkins Architects, visited all 20 buildings shortlisted in the Wood Awards before deciding the winner, in one of the UK’s most rigorous assessments for any competition.
On deciding on Homerton College Dining Hall as the Gold Winner, the judges said they were impressed by the harmony of the structure with the rest of the college, allowing for light and flow from the garden and to other areas of the college to create a building both ‘natural and iconic’.
Homerton College Dining Hall beat more than 200 building in the UK to claim the Gold Award. They were also the winner of the Education category, and of the Structural Award. The award makes a two-year clean sweep for the University of Cambridge, who won the Gold Award with their Magdalene College Library last year before going on to win the RIBA Stirling prize.
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