The St Regis site on the edge of Cambridge’s De Freville Conservation Area has provided graduate accommodation for Clare College since the 1990’s. However, the former 1940’s buildings had become outdated, resulting in inadequate living conditions and high energy costs. The £11m Design and Build redevelopment scheme incorporates three new buildings of contemporary design, constructed over two contract sections. Section 1 includes two new-build blocks and the conversion of an adjacent building providing 85 units, whilst Section 2 comprises a separate block of 14 additional units.
The scheme, designed by Freeland Rees Roberts Architects is constructed with reinforced concrete basements, pre-cast concrete floors, masonry construction, steel frames with hand-cut roofs, and a combination of zinc standing seam roofing and vertical cladding. A carefully considered landscape scheme provides generous amenity spaces and increased biodiversity. On-site renewable energy generation, together with a “fabric-first” approach contributes to the sustainability of the redevelopment.
The site constraints required two self-erecting tower cranes to work simultaneously distributing materials delivered from a nearby holding compound on a daily basis. Our site team have ensured compliance with the evolving COVID-19 working restrictions, whilst optimising quality control procedures, allowing all 85 student units to be handed-over in a single batch.
As the site has been home to a significant colony of nesting swifts, the new buildings include nesting bricks, and a swift inspired motif now decorates the roadside frontage.