Iconic 60s brutalist building scoops three awards for its outstanding refurbishment

BuroHappold Engineering has won three prestigious accolades at the Cambridge Design and Construction Awards held this week at St Catherine’s College.  All three were presented for the outstanding refurbishment of a 1960’s Brutalist icon, now named the ‘David Attenborough Building’; the ‘Engineering and Sustainability Project of the Year’, the ‘Best Conservation, Alteration or Extension’ and the ‘Considerate Contractors’ awards.

Andy Keelin, Partner, BuroHappold Engineering said:

 ‘We wanted to create a low-energy, adaptable and efficient structure whilst preserving the integrity of the original Sir Philip Dowson design.  We’re honoured that our innovative sustainability framework for the refurbishment of this magnificent structure, including biodiversity measures such as a green roof, rainwater harvesting and even a bee hotel, has been recognised with three awards’

The building was refurbished to house a vibrant new hub for the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) and research areas for the University’s Department of Zoology. The Museum of Zoology has been refurbished and extended, and opens this summer for the public to visit.  BuroHappold worked closely with Nicholas Hare Architects in the complete transformation of the building into a beacon of sustainability, including a soaring atrium with a green wall and a new ‘green’ roof which will be used by CCI as an external laboratory to monitor different species colonising the building. 

Mike Rands, Director of the CCI said:

 ‘The project demonstrates the highest levels of environmental sustainability and will be an exemplar of how to enrich and conserve biodiversity in an urban setting’

The judges made a particular point of highlighting how the project captured the essence of the challenge faced by the industry: the need to adapt and upgrade 80% of building stock. They also highlighted how the project embraced these challenges extremely well whilst dealing with complexities such as new users, a change in use and a hugely complex building.  The panel was also really impressed with the energy metering throughout the building and the all-encompassing ‘Sustainability Framework’.