This invited competition design for Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, is for a new boathouse incorporating student accommodation to replace the existing boathouse. The overall concept for the new layout is derived from studies of traditional boathouse models and while the design has been developed in vernacular language, it has been interpreted in a contemporary manner.
The ground floor is dedicated to the boat storage area, a workshop, changing rooms, toilets, and the boathouse manager’s office. A private gym and crew room are at first floor level facing the river and have generous openings and terraces, enhancing the visual connections between land and water.
Fifteen units dedicated to student accommodation are situated at both first and second floor levels, and share an internal landscaped courtyard accessed from the rear of the site. The entrance to the student flats is from the internal courtyard, which creates a secure living environment while encouraging closer communication between the residents. An additional terrace for the students at the second floor level allows generous views of the river and the park beyond.
The proposal is in a conservation area, with a pleasant and attractive residential district behind and with another boathouse to the side as well as some new developments towards the river. The aim has been to knit the proposal to the existing fabric of the area and to respect the heights, scale and material of surrounding buildings while still promoting a unique identity for the boathouse, individual to the college. Brick is used on the ground floor, making the building more solid and secure, while timber wraps round the top two storeys, providing a warm and tactile quality to the building.
From the earliest stages of design, analysis of the environment was crucial for the final design which incorporated a series of passive systems without the need for energy input in order to minimize the need for fossil; fuel consumption.
Architect: Belsize Architects
Location: Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, UK
Type: Invited Competition