KJ Tait

St John’s College Hub, Cambridge

St John’s College
Arts & Community/Heritage

This project provides a place at the heart of the College where the whole community are able to meet, eat, drink and work in an inviting and relaxed atmosphere.  It comprised the refurbishment of the south west corner of the Grade I Listed Second Court building, built in 1599, to provide a new bar and cafe along with the demolition and rebuilding of the existing buttery dining room, which was built in the 1970s.


A series of historic window openings were altered to allow connection between the new dining room and café.  The dining room occupies space within Kitchen Lane, an historic thoroughfare that connected the College to the River Cam along the boundary with adjacent Trinity College.  A new, dramatic, free standing oak roof structure covers the buttery dining room.

This was the first project to be developed under the College’s emerging ambitious sustainability strategy.  The design of the CHRP aims to provide a benchmark for the future development of the College buildings and those within the wider College community.  A BREEAM Excellent rating was achieved for both the new and refurbished elements.


Enhancements to the thermal performance of the historic fabric within the Grade I listed elements were undertaken and were assessed in detail with the Heritage Architect, and through working in conjunction with Historic England and the Heritage Officer at the City Council, to ensure that  the existing fabric was not compromised and the historic character not negatively impacted.


Heating is generated by electric heat pumps to reduce the use of natural gas. Ventilation to both the new build and refurbishment elements is mixed mode to minimise energy use whilst maintaining high levels of indoor air quality for the various and flexible uses of the facility.


KJ Tait provided fully detailed engineering design services for this project which was procured on a traditional basis.


Image by MCW Architects