Celebrating Homerton: Dining Hall Competition shortlist announced

Names of the five finalists revealed

03 Celebrating Homerton shortlist
© Malcolm Reading Consultants / Alex Ramsay

Homerton College, Cambridge revealed today [11 October 2016] the five practices shortlisted for its emblematic £7m dining hall in an invited design competition organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC).

One hundred and fifty-five architects responded to the original call for the competition and from these 24 were selected for the long-list. The finalist practices – all UK-based – through to the competition’s final stage, are (in alphabetical order):

  • Caruso St John Architects
  • dRMM
  • Feilden Fowles
  • Hall McKnight
  • Walters & Cohen Architects

The initiative is part of the College’s wider Estates Strategy to offer students, academics and staff exemplary facilities. Homerton recognises that the new dining hall has the potential to determine the College’s character for the next two centuries. Hosting one of the largest student communities in Cambridge, Homerton is one of the few colleges currently able to house all of its undergraduates on-site for all four years and benefits from an exceptionally attractive wooded site.

Deborah Griffin OBE, Homerton College Bursar, said:

‘We are delighted with the competition process and the diversity of the shortlist. We appreciated that all of the long-listed teams visited the site and showed great care and attention to detail in their responses. But, ultimately, the five finalists’ connection with the project shone through strongly.’

David Hamilton, Director of Projects at Malcolm Reading Consultants, said:

‘What made the difference between reaching the long-list and the shortlist? It came down to an understanding of, and empathy with, the client as an institution, a genuine focus on working in collaboration and an initial response that emphasised both the inspirational and the practical.’

The five teams will now be given a further briefing and progress onto more detailed concept designs for the new 300 person dining hall and supporting facilities, including kitchen and back-office areas.

Key design themes for the second stage of the competition will encompass land use and landscape, access and movement, integration of uses, infrastructure and services, and outstanding environmental performance.

Working closely with Homerton, MRC developed a new model for an invited competition, combining the advantages of a streamlined invited contest with a wider call for fresh talent. Interested architects were encouraged to send a ‘declaration of interest’ when the competition launched in order to be considered for inclusion on the long-list, which resulted with over 150 architects applying to be on the 24-strong long-list.

The finalists’ concept designs will be exhibited in the College during December 2016 and into the early New Year. The winning team is expected to be announced in late January 2017.

Construction for the 1,400 sqm project is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2018.