The site chosen for the University of Cambridge's new Faculty of Education building is marked by its proximity to the Grade II listed Trumpington House on one side and by the presence of a number of mature trees.
Official client for the project is the university's Estate Management & Building Service (EMBS), which set up a user group of staff and faculty members to work with architect BDP. Their stated objective was a building that clearly expressed the identity of the Faculty.
Four potential concepts were discussed: the Hub and Spoke, the Garden Room, the Courtyard, and the Street.
The last was chosen because it was felt it most clearly expressed the dual functions of the new building.
The result is effectively two buildings under a single roof, divided by the ground level Street but linked by bridges at different levels.
On one side is the concrete framed brick clad teaching block, on the other the open spaces of the library and cafeteria wrapped in the warmth of exposed timber.
Arching over the Street and resting on top of the teaching block are the curving glulam roof beams extending from the library - although both buildings are independently stable. In plan the library structure is gently curved to give elbow room to a mature beech tree in the garden outside.