SDC wins £60m revamp of Cambridge Uni masterpiece

Aaron Morby 2 weeks ago

The University of Cambridge has picked Bedfordshire contractor SDC to deliver a complex refit of the historic James Stirling-designed History Faculty and Seeley Libray.

Seeley Library forms part of ambitious refurbishment project
Seeley Library forms part of ambitious refurbishment project

Described as a modernist jewel by architects, the faculty built in the late 1960s will undergo a comprehensive £60m overhaul.

£200m-plus turnover SDC is understood to have pipped Kier, Bowmer & Kirkland and Willmott Dixon to the prestigious job.

Architect James Stirling designed the History Faculty considered to be a landmark modernist building

This will include repairing and upgrading grade II listed building’s fabric and replacing services to improve thermal comfort, while introducing a range of carbon saving and climate resilient measures.

The Grade II listed History Faculty Building, which is also the home of the Seeley Library.

The upgrade programme designed by BDP will also involve extending the building with two new pavilions proposed to provide additional library and reading spaces while supporting improved accessibility.

Arup is delivering heritage, civil, structural, façade engineering and access services on the project  and has been engaged since the initial feasibility study in 2021.

Professor Tim Harper, Head of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences, said: “The project is true to James Stirling’s vision in that it looks to the future.

“It will enable all those who use the building to work together in new and exciting ways.”

Building showing one of two planned extensions

The landscape around the building will see improvements, aiming to enhance biodiversity and create more convivial and inviting outdoor spaces as part of the wider heritage setting.

Dan Changer, director at SDC, said, “We are delighted to be selected to assist the University of Cambridge’s Estates Division with the refurbishment of this architectural modernist jewel.

“We look forward to the inherent challenge that the project presents: balancing the requirements of heritage conservation principles with the technical resolution of challenges in the fabric design.”

Construction is due to start from 2025, subject to planning and listed building consent approvals from Cambridge City Council.


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