Stapleford Granary, Cambridge

The ACE Foundation is a Cambridge based charity with the aim of encouraging and developing cultural understanding. Providing support for educational projects, courses and summer schools, both locally and internationally, the ACE Foundation has played a pioneering role in adult and continuing education. The Foundation provides a whole host of educational activities, from worldwide study tours to financial support for a variety of educational projects around the globe.

The Foundation purchased a Victorian farm in 2009 on the outskirts of Cambridge with the vision of creating an inspiring space for education, culture, music and the arts. This project was about creating a home for the Foundation within the precious and characterful setting of the reenergised farm and granary, a  place to provide facilities for events and courses, a sustainable working environment for the study tour team and importantly  a focal point and accessible amenity for the community both locally and regionally.

KJ Tait were appointed on the second phase works to complete the refurbishment and add new build elements to connect the Granary with a new glazed linking structure to an existing barn which has been converted into office space for the ACE Cultural Tours team. The ground floor of the granary, along with the existing cart lodge, is a creative space for both fine and applied art. The link acts as a foyer, gathering space and long gallery and opens onto a south facing external terrace, shaded by wisteria on an oak pergola. A new front door opens into a double height lobby which joins the office space to the foyer.  A dilapidated cart lodge has become a space for a ceramics and jewellery studio. A walled garden will be created beyond the office barn within the original farm yard.

KJ Tait implemented a low energy solution, utilising natural ventilation throughout. We were appointed from Concept Design Stage through to completion and provided a full design service on the Traditional contract.

The project won a RIBA East Award and was a regional finalist in the Civic Trust Awards.