WJL worked in collaboration with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios on the Croft Gardens accommodation at King’s College Cambridge. Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) are an architect practice we were introduced to at Roehampton University Library, constructed by Osborne Construction in 2018-19. FCBS had produced a design which closely matched our Echofade® acoustic panel and we were able to make some simple adaptations, introducing multi-coloured fabric inserts to help them bring their designs to life.
As we are a UK manufacturer with our own in-house design team, development of our existing product through workshops enabled the unique features of FCBS scheme to be facilitated. No standard panels or standard corner details, everything bespoke. The project was a great success, so much so that FCBS included us in the specification for a new accommodation block for King’s College Cambridge, built by Gilbert Ash Ltd.
We worked on the design, manufacture and installation of Echofade® wall panelling and staircases for Croft Gardens, the space includes c4,300m2 of postgraduate accommodation comprising 24 college family apartments, 60 graduate rooms and communal facilities, as well as substantial landscaping and external works.
Our teams worked on 4 blocks of the accommodation – block A and B included the installation of two staircases and bespoke wall panelling in the lobbies, block C had two staircases and wall panelling in the corridors, and block D included 1 staircase and wall panelling in the corridors also.
This time, the design presented different challenges. The need for high precision with interfacing trades being the greatest. Once again, we produced a version of our Echofade® panels to line both sides of a number of wreathing staircases, including a soffit detail which followed the line of the treads and risers above. We worked closely with the flooring contractor to ensure the level of detailing demanded by the design was met, producing an entirely oak lined staircase.
Solid oak was used for all the wall panelling, and a mixture of solid oak and veneer was used for the Soffits. The look was finished off with the subtleness of balustrades made of glass encased in thick solid oak. The biggest challenge on this project was the increased detailing required by the architect as the project went on. Despite this, we were able to work with the site team to complete an incredibly impressive piece of work and we look forward to collaborating in the future.
Targeting a 100-year design life, the project used high-quality materials which emanate a sense of permanence; these are buildings which are designed to last. It is expected Croft Gardens will be carbon negative for the first 7-10 years of operation, driven in a large part by the embodied sequestered carbon through use of CLT for its structure and timber as an internal finishing material.
The architecture is defined by a careful balance of verticality and horizontality; vertically stacked windows and dormers with expressed rainwater pipes reference residential courts whilst horizontal ribbing subtly emphasises the sweep of the crescent curves, responding to the tension and compression held in the crescent form.
Whilst the design and manufacture of the project presented enormous challenges for everyone involved, the end result was an incredibly impressive internal aesthetic of which the whole construction team can be immensely proud.
If you are in need of any Echofade®, acoustic panelling or bespoke joinery services, get in touch with a member of our team today.