Skip To Main Content

Cambridge City Council

Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Awards 2023

14 March 2023

The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service and the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry are pleased to publish the winners of the Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Awards 2023, announced at an awards ceremony, hosted by the CFCI at the McGrath Centre, St. Catharine’s College.

Submissions were welcomed from the whole of Greater Cambridge, including both the City and South Cambridgeshire. The awards celebrate the best construction projects completed in Greater Cambridge, including new buildings and conservation, alterations, or extensions to existing buildings.

We are pleased to celebrate and showcase the design and construction skills, craftsmanship and engineering which have continued through this period and contributed to the built environment of our region.

The judges visited shortlisted projects in early February to examine the buildings and experience the spaces first-hand.

The judges would like to thank all the teams who submitted entries for the 2023 awards.  The judging criteria for the awards included the context and the brief for the building, the design solution adopted, the quality and difficulty of the construction and the craftsmanship displayed in the building. Accessibility and the creation of an inclusive environment are also vital considerations.

Each scheme is expected to address environmental concerns, including energy performance. In addition, where possible, the projects are expected to contribute to the natural environment both on the building and in the landscape around the building.

There are also three ‘People Award’ categories for those working in the construction industry and related professions.  The People Awards recognise the achievements of those who have excelled in their fields in the design and construction industry.

The winners of the three People Awards are:

  • Apprentice of the year: Connor Howell, 3C Shared Services Building Control
  • Young professional of the year: Lauren New, Cambridge Investment Partnership
  • Site Manager of the year: Julian Redpath, Cocksedge

The eight project award categories for 2023 are:

  • Best new neighbourhood
  • Best new building (under £2m construction costs)
  • Best new building (over £2m construction costs)
  • Best conservation, alteration, or extension of an existing building (under £2m construction costs)
  • Best conservation, alteration, or extension of an existing building (over £2m construction costs)
  • David Mackay Award for engineering and sustainability
  • Craftsmanship Award
  • Contractor Award

The judging panel was chaired by Dame Fiona Reynolds, former master of Emmanuel College Cambridge and former director-general of the National Trust. The submission process and judging process were jointly facilitated by the GCSPS and CFCI volunteer trustees.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Awards judges, said: “We were delighted to see the range and quality of the entries, including a growing number from outside the City.  Each year, there is a greater focus on the environment and accessibility alongside inspiring architecture and design, all of which we warmly welcome.”

Stephen Kelly, Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development for Greater Cambridge Shared Planning, said: “Once again the awards demonstrate the wealth of architectural and construction talent in Greater Cambridge.  The effort that our construction companies put into balancing environmental concerns with aesthetics is truly inspirational, and the finalists are a credit to the industry.”

Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins, Lead Cabinet member for Planning for South Cambs District Council, said: “These extraordinary awards celebrate the talent in construction, craft skills, design and placemaking in Greater Cambridge.  Events like this celebrate good design and raise the bar for new buildings.”

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Infrastructure for Cambridge City Council, said: “The awards showcase the best that Greater Cambridge has to offer, in terms of both people and buildings. Each year, we continue to see innovation and excellence. Our officers work hard in partnership with owners, architects, and local communities to ensure good design is appropriate to its local context.”

Alison Wring, chair of the CFCI, said: “CFCI’s involvement in these awards recognises our region’s finest organisations and individuals in the construction industry, who all share a united passion for exemplar quality developments alongside long-lasting sustainable legacies. All finalists and winners deserve to be proud of their achievements and their impact, not only to the benefit of Cambridgeshire, but best practice within the industry as a whole.”

See pictures of the winning projects at 2023 Award Winners - CFCI

Judges’ comments

Best new neighbourhood

Winner - Ironworks

“The Ironworks project involved continuous engagement with the local community throughout, informing many small changes and mitigations to the plan.  The outcome is a mix of streets and spaces having different characters, and new homes with varying typologies, alongside a large central green space is for children’s play, access to nature and management of water. While still in its early development, we believe it has the potential to provide a coherent and lively new neighbourhood in Cambridge, building on Mill Road’s origins and spirit, while making a significant contribution to local housing need.”

Best new building (under £2m construction costs)

Winner – 51-53 Argyle Street

“This project had a strong design-led approach (including decorative brickwork and sensitive placing and sizing of windows), creating two charming and contemporary new homes from both the exterior and interior perspectives.”

Commendation - The Boathouse

“The Boathouse is a Japanese-inspired, beautiful timber construction which is prominently placed on the Cam and provides a timeless, striking and functional structure in this visually sensitive location. It was designed and hand-built by a team of passionate craftsmen, who were determined to use no metal in its construction.  All the, often complex, joints are pegged with wood, also using an unusual gun to fire hardwood pegs into the larch.”

Best new building (over £2m construction costs)

Winner - Homerton Dining Hall

“This stunning addition to Cambridge’s now largest college provides a benchmark for what can be done through an ambitious multi-dimensional brief, a sympathetic and visionary architect, a deeply engaged client and a highly skilled construction/delivery team. The use of colour both externally and internally is bold and striking throughout and there are stunning views into and out of the building in all directions. The building glows at night. Homerton wants to be recognised both as a Cambridge College and a college like no other, and the Hall reflects that vision well.”

Commendation – University of Cambridge West Hub

“The building comprises two cafes with a large kitchen, a shop, library, multiple personal workspaces of different characters, and lecture/teaching rooms of different sizes.  Its aim was to facilitate interdisciplinary interchange, provide attractive spaces for work and leisure, and to be physically and emotionally transparent, welcoming people in with no card access or other constraint. We were delighted to see it absolutely heaving, with huge queues for lunch and the workspaces well occupied – clearly a popular and much valued resource.”

Commendation - Lucy Cavendish College

“This is a terrific project with a fantastic brief which has established high standards and clear ambition for this rapidly expanding college. It has effectively normalised exemplary environmental and inclusivity ambitions for buildings of this kind.”

Best conservation, alteration or extension of an existing building (under £2m construction costs)

Winner – St. Denis, East Hatley

“This is a delightful and heart-warming project.  St Denis’ Church was closed and stripped out in the 1960s, and left to become almost derelict, smothered in ivy and structurally unsafe. Taken on by the Friends of Friendless Churches and with strong community support, it has finally received the attention it deserved. The Church has been transformed, given new life and added value for the local community. We found the enthusiasm from and engagement with the local community particularly inspiring, and hope the Church will be used for many events now that is has been brought back to life from the very brink.”

Best conservation, alteration or extension of an existing building (over £2m construction costs)

Winner – The Entopia Building

“This is a clear winner, showing how retrofit and refurbishment can, with determination and skill, achieve extraordinarily high environmental standards.  All parties: the client, architect and contractors are commended for not only setting but maintaining the vision for an exemplary and game-changing approach.  The aim from the start was to feel normal while being deep green.  The process has been recorded and operating standards are being closely monitored with the aim that others can both copy and better it.”

Commendation – St. Catharine’s Dining Hall

“We highly commend this project, which has radically improved the way the college operates, replaced an unsatisfactory dining hall with a beautiful new space, and created a much more coherent and accessible means of circulation in St Catharine’s College. The pre-existing dining hall had been built as part of a 1960s extension, which had never functioned well, with the kitchens isolated from the rest of the college and huge logistical challenges in circulation.  Gort Scott have devised an extremely ingenious solution, replacing the hall, connecting the kitchens and opening up new avenues of circulation by the installation of an atrium.”

David Mackay Award for engineering and sustainability

Winner – Entopia

“For its leadership in demonstrating what can be achieved in retrofitting challenging buildings.”


St. Catharine’s College - “for aligning delicate adaptations to an existing building with an in-situ concrete building”

Lucy Cavendish College - “for ‘normalising’ high environmental standards.”

Homerton College Dining Hall – “for its deep commitment to creating a green building”

Craftsmanship Award

Joint Winner - The Boathouse

“The Boathouse, for its extraordinary skill, hand craftsmanship and beauty. It was designed and hand-built by a team of passionate craftsmen, who were determined to use no metal in its construction.”

Joint Winner – Homerton College Dining Hall

“An inclusive, welcoming space that sets a standard environmentally and visually.  The new Hall directly abuts the College’s only listed building, the Ibbeson Building, built in 1914 in the Arts and Crafts style, so it draws on that tradition while being a bold, contemporary addition to the College site.  Its echoes and indeed reflections of the existing Great Hall stitch the new building into its setting.”

Commendation – Entopia

“This project demonstrates the very best qualities of craftsmanship to achieve the potentially conflicting sustainability certification standards of Enerphit, BREEAM Outstanding and WELL Gold. The team took a fabric first approach, with a commitment to a circular economy and re-using/recycling materials wherever possible.  This extends to fit out (including lighting) and furnishings, 65% of which are recycled, and others use innovative materials including hemp and crushed paper.”

Contractor Award

Winner – Hill Investment Partnerships (Colville Road and Iron Works)

“It was clear how engaged Hill Investment Partnerships were in all aspects of the schemes, from community liaison to making appropriate modifications as the schemes progressed.  In particular at Colville Road we heard how experimentation and learning led to the adoption of better environmental standards, which will be applied to future projects.”

Commendation – SDC (Lucy Cavendish College)

“There was evidently close and positive collaboration between the client, architect and contractors throughout this project, resulting in a building that was good value for money, whilst delivering certified Passivhaus.“

Winners and commendation details

Best new neighbourhood

In this category, there is one winning scheme.

Winner: Ironworks

  • Client: Cambridge City Council and Cambridge Investment Operation
  • Contractor: Hill Investment Partnerships
  • Employers Agent: Henry Riley
  • Architects: Rock Townsend and Allies and Morrison
  • Structural Engineers: Walker Associates
  • Principal Designer: AECOM
  • Landscape Architects: The Environment Partnership
  • Planning and Heritage Consultants: Beacon Planning

Best new building (under £2m construction costs)

In this category, there is one winning scheme and one commendation.

Winner: 51-53 Argyle Street

  • Client/Contractor: Inti Construction
  • Architect: Borough Architects
  • Structural Engineer: CAR
  • Services/Sustainability: Green Heat Limited
  • Building Control: RHBC

Commendation: The Boathouse

  • Client: Mr and Mrs Gustafsson
  • Architect: Ashworth Parkes Architects Ltd
  • Structural Engineer: CAR
  • Timber Frame: Carpenter Oak
  • Design for Manufacturer and Assembly Engineer: Element Design & Consulting
  • Lead Carpenter: Laurie Prentis

Best new building (over £2m construction costs)

In this category, there is one winning scheme and two commendations.

Winner: Homerton College Dining Hall

  • Photos: Fielden Fowles, David Grandorge, Jim Stephenson
  • Client: Homerton College
  • Architect: Fielden Fowles
  • Main Contractor: Barnes Construction
  • Project Manager: Ingleton Wood
  • QS & Cost Consultant: Bremner Partnership
  • Structural Engineer: Structure Workshop
  • Services, Acoustics and Sustainability Engineers: Max Fordham
  • Civil Engineer: Peter Dann
  • Landscape Architects: SEED and Hortus Collective
  • Faience: Darwen Terracotta/Szerelmey
  • Structural Timber Frame: Constructional Timber
  • Internal Joinery: Classic Barfitting Ltd
  • In-situ Concrete: MJS Construction
  • Bespoke Furniture: Luke Hughes

Commendation: Lucy Cavendish College

  • Photos: Nick Gutteridge
  • Client: Lucy Cavendish College
  • Architects: R H Partnership Architects
  • Passivhaus Designer, Sustainability Consultant, Building Services, Acoustician: Max Fordham
  • Passivhaus Certifer: WARM Low Energy Building Practice
  • Civil & Structural Engineering: Smith and Wallwork
  • Project Manager, Planning Consultancy, Landscape Design, Heritage Consultancy: Bidwells
  • Transport Consultancy: B G Hall
  • Fire Consultancy: MLM
  • Café Interior Consultancy: Eve Waldron
  • Arboricultural Consultancy: Hayden’s Arboricultural Consultants
  • Ecologist: MKA Ecology
  • Principal Designer: RHP with Faithful + Gould
  • Access Consultancy: Leonard Cheshire Homes
  • Cost Consultancy: Richard Utting Associates
  • Contractor: SDC Builders Ltd
  • CLT Manufacturer: KLH UK
  • M & E Subcontractor: Munro Building Services
  • Post-Tender Fire Consultant: Affinity Fire
  • Brickwork Contractor: Caxton Brickworks
  • Roof & Façade Tiling Contractor: White Roofing
  • Passivhaus Windows: Ideal Combi
  • Passivhaus Curtain Walling: Schueco
  • Brickwork: Forterra ‘Bamford Blend’
  • Roof Tiling: Weinberger ‘Alban Sussex Blend’ clay tiles
  • Wall Tile-hanging: Keymer Traditional ‘Wealden Red’ handmade clay tiles

Commendation: University of Cambridge West Hub

  • Client: University of Cambridge
  • Architect: Jestico + Whiles
  • Executive Architect: NBBJ
  • Structural Engineer, Civil Engineer, Acoustic Consultant: Ramboll
  • M & E Consultant: Hoare Lee
  • Quantity Surveyor: AECOM
  • Landscape Consultant: Plincke
  • Catering Consultant: Tricon
  • Accessibility Consultant: David Bonnett Associates
  • Project Manager, Principle Designer: Currie & Brown
  • Main Contractor: Bouygues

Best conservation, alteration of extension of an existing building (under £2m construction costs)

In this category, there is one winning scheme.

Winner: St Denis Church, East Hatley

  • Client: The Friends of Friendless Churches
  • Architect: Stephanie Norris Architects Ltd
  • Photography: Peter Mann and David Sear
  • Principal Designer: Colin Borley, Pimys Ltd
  • Contractor: Lodge & Sons (Builders) Ltd
  • Conservator: Hirst Conservation Ltd
  • Glazing Specialist Subcontractor: Lincolnshire Stained Glass
  • Ecologist: Dr Duncan Painter, Applied Ecology Ltd
  • Timber Conservation Specialist: Robert Demaus, Demaus Building Diagnostics Ltd

Best conservation, alteration or extension of an existing building (over £2m construction costs)

In this category, there is one winning scheme and one commendation.

Winner: The Entopia Building

  • Client: University of Cambridge
  • User Client: The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)
  • Lead Architect, Passivhaus Designer, Carbon Consultant, Client Advisor: Architype
  • Photographs: Architype/Jack Hobhouse
  • Photographs Titled: Architype/SOLK Photography Ltd
  • Building Sponsor: Envision Energy
  • Project Manager: 3Pm
  • Cost consultant: Gardiner and Theobald
  • Contractor: ISG
  • Delivery Architect: Fielden + Mawson
  • Services Engineer: BDP and Max Fordham
  • Passivhaus Designer: Max Fordham
  • Structural Engineer: BDP and CAR
  • Interior Design: Eve Waldron Design
  • Passivhaus and EnerPhit Certifiers: Mead Consulting

Commendation: St Catharine’s College

  • Client: St Catharine’s College
  • Pre-Construction Architects: Gort Scott
  • Executive Architect: AMA
  • Photography: Jim Stephenson
  • Contractor: SDC Builders
  • Heritage Consultant: Marcus Beale Architects
  • Structural Engineer: Engineers HRW
  • MEP and Sustainability, Lighting, Acoustics: Max Fordham
  • Catering Consultant: Keith Winton Design
  • Cost Consultant, Project Manager, Principal Designer: Henry Riley
  • Planning Consultant: Turley
  • Rare Books Consultant: QODA
  • Fire Consultant: ARUP
  • Interior Design Consultant: Ralph & Smith

David Mackay Award for engineering and sustainability

In this category, there is one winning scheme and three commendations.

  • Winner: The Entopia Building (details as above)
  • Commendation: Homerton Dining Hall (details as above)
  • Commendation: Lucy Cavendish College (details as above)
  • Commendation: St Catharine’s College (details as above)

Craftsmanship Award

In this category, there are two winning schemes and one commendation.

  • Winner: Homerton Dining Hall (details above)
  • Winner: The Boathouse (details above)
  • Commendation: The Entopia Building (details above)

Contractor Award

In this category, there is one winning scheme and one commendation.

  • Winner: Hill (for Ironworks and Colville Road Phase 2)
  • Commendation: SDC Builders (for Lucy Cavendish College)