Charles Holland Architects
CHA were shortlisted to design a new Porters’ Lodge and entrance for Homerton College, Cambridge.
The new Porters’ Lodge provides a distinctive and impactful entrance that draws attention to the college’s presence on Hills Road and offers a strong sense of arrival for all.
By placing the entrance façade close to the road and emphasising its vertical qualities in the form of a tower, the new lodge will form a distinctive new landmark. The scale of the facade addresses both the context of Hills Road and the history of Cambridge Colleges more generally, providing a celebratory and contemporary gateway to Homerton.
A number of new external spaces are created for more circulation within the entrance of Homerton College. The first of which expands existing vehicular entrances with additional pedestrian and bicycle ways.
A new south-facing courtyard is formed between the new Porters’ Lodge and the Mary Allan building – this space is protected by a stone colonnade on two sides to form a ‘quad’ linking the entrance to other facilities such as the campus library and lecture hall.
The proposed covered colonnade forms a new sheltered route connecting staff, students and visitors to the heart of the campus. It is south facing and provides a pleasant place to linger or talk with colleagues on the way to lectures and conferences.
At the rear of the new lodge is small but important public space which picks up a number of routes across the college campus. A smaller version of the lodge’s entrance façade forms a frontage to this gathering space and includes a short colonnade that connects the new court with the rest of the campus.
CHA worked closely with Max Fordham Associates to integrate a zero-carbon strategy throughout the proposal. The building proposes to employ both photo voltaics and a ground source heat pump to produce renewable energy sources.
The proposal uses locally sourced materials which include Chipsham stone from Lincolnshire for the front and rear elevations as well as recycled bricks from Cambridgeshire for the side elevations and recycled slate for the roof. More generally, the structure will be from an engineered timber frame.
The design of the Lodge draws on a rich history of Homerton College’s existing buildings and proposes high quality craftsmanship and materials. The use of Clipsham stone for the main entrance façade, the collonades and the rear façade will highlight the beautiful colour and rich alluvial deposits in its surface.
We also propose to a variety of surface qualities through contemporary rustication and sculptural modelling. The lower portions of the façade will feature computer-cut patterns that will bring out the subtlety of the stone’s surface. The interplay of circles and arches of the façade will also animate the material, adding quality of detail and craftsmanship up close.
Landscaping has been integral to our approach and we have worked with Jeremy Rye studio to develop external spaces and a planting strategy for the scheme.
This comes in the form of rich planting at the front comprising of grasses and splashes of colour combined with formal clipped hornbeam hedges.
Alongside that, the new courtyard will have a centrally placed walnut tree – offering a strong focus as well as shade and a degree of protection from wind and rain. The lawn will be augmented by planting around its edges and ornamental hedges will run along the colonnade.