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Gort Scott wins St Catharine’s College Cambridge contest

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Gort Scott Architects has won the competition to revamp social spaces at St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge

The London practice defeated rival bids by Sergison Bates, BGS Architects, MICA Architects, RH Partnership Architects and Wright & Wright Architects.

The competition – organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) – sought proposals to overhaul the college’s dining hall and related social and support spaces.

It will focus on the hall and other dining areas while improving access to the 18th-century Sherlock Library, Senior Combination Room and 2013 McGrath Centre, and creating a new home for the college’s rare books and special collections.

The appointment comes three years Gort Scott defeated DRDH, 6A and others to win a competition for a new riverside block for St Hilda’s College at Oxford University.

Studio founder and principal Jay Gort said: ‘Fiona [Scott], I and the team are absolutely delighted to have been selected to work on such an inspiring project. From our time at Cambridge, both as students and then as teachers, we appreciate the significance of dining halls and their adjoining rooms within college life.

‘We look forward to developing our concept designs with the college into a series of spaces that are uplifting, welcoming and a fitting backdrop to both the ceremonial and the everyday.’

MRC chair Malcolm Reading said: ‘All of the finalist teams created intriguing and well-thought-out proposals, for which we are very grateful. But Gort Scott Architects excelled in its holistic grasp of design issues.

‘It is not very often that a Cambridge college decides to remake its central dining hall, and St Catharine’s has shown rigour in addressing the challenges and identifying the best team for the task.’

St Catharine’s College master Mark Welland said: ‘This is a vital project for St Catharine’s that will effectively transform our social spaces and enable us to showcase the central parts of the College.

‘We needed to find a top-performing team who understood the Cambridge experience, who could balance the creativity of presenting set-piece spaces with everyday practical and logistical demands.

‘The selection committee was unanimous in deciding that the Gort Scott team’s proposal would result in an outstanding project that was elegant and powerful and that would encapsulate the spirit and qualities of St Catharine’s without pretension.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Industry Professional

    Do we get to see the other five entries?.... it’s not often anyone has the chance to think about the design of an Oxbridge Hall be really interesting to see the others I’m sure they all invested a lot of time and effort

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