Homerton College Dining Hall
The striking new dining hall for Homerton College in Cambridge, an intriguing crown of green and pink, features sustainability standards that far exceed best practice.
Homerton is Cambridge University’s youngest college, but is now the largest by student numbers. Working alongside Feilden Fowles Architects, we were appointed to drive the environmental strategies and integrated MEP design for its newest addition to the campus, a scheme comprising the design of the college's kitchen, dining, social and welfare spaces.
Beyond its distinctive exterior featuring a dramatic roof clad in 3,200 green ceramic tiles, the building delivers numerous considerable improvements for Cambridge’s largest college community: the new dining hall was designed to host much bigger events, all main social spaces feature large integrated openings that deliver natural ventilation for comfort and fresh air during most of the year, and the plant space has been carefully positioned alongside the large catering kitchen to simplify integration of ventilation equipment and facilitate maintenance.
"Homerton College's new dining hall aims to embed a holistic approach to sustainability. The project has followed an innovative approach applying a set of sustainability standards that exceed best practice. Twenty-two bespoke targets were developed specifically for the project which were able to reflect the college's aspirations for the building, focusing on particular elements of the building design, construction and operation [with the greatest impact]." - Hero Bennett, Sustainability Leader at Max Fordham
The twenty-two bespoke targets for the Dining Hall included:
- All-electric building with high-efficiency electric catering equipment and a ground-source heat pump that reduces CO2 emissions from heating and hot water by approximately 40%. The college has also installed a system large enough to supply other areas of the campus.
- Predominantly passive ventilation in high-occupancy spaces, such as the dining hall itself, which benefits from high-level opening windows. In peak conditions, mechanical ventilation is used, combining heat recovery which exchanges waste heat from cooking extraction to temper fresh incoming air.
- Low water use fittings equivalent to 40% reduction over baseline levels using BREEAM methodology, and drought tolerant planting.
- Analysis and design for future climate against 2050 medium weather scenarios with future provision for ground-sourced cooling.
- Undertaking a post-occupancy evaluation process to analyse and help optimise performance in use.
As part of our acoustics input, we modelled the acoustics of the 5,000m³ dining hall to evaluate reverberation and noise from diners. The acoustics are controlled by means of seamless acoustic plaster and diffusing wall finishes. The acoustic design strategy reflected the sustainability targets for the project and the intent to design for a 100-year lifespan.
"Designed to last a minimum of 100 years, [the building] can sustain the college’s legacy, contributing a courageous architecture that is sure to become an enduring centrepiece of the college." - Architects' Journal