Homerton Dining Hall wins architectural prize

By Lester Holloway 2min read

HOMERTON COLLEGE’S New Dining Hall - which aims to challenge the image of a traditional Cambridge dining hall and reflect Homerton’s values of inclusivity and diversity - has won a prestigious architectural award.

The innovative building picked up the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) regional East award, meaning the Dining Hall now goes forward to the national stage of the RIBA awards competition.

The hall, completed in 2022, was designed by architects Edmund Fowles and Eleanor Hedley, of Feilden Fowles, and was built with sustainability in mind.

Vice Principal Dr Francesca Moore welcomed the announcement, saying: “We are absolutely thrilled that the New Dining Hall has won an RIBA East of England Award.

“It's an honour for our building to be considered for an award alongside so many inspirational projects across the region.

“The new dining hall is a triumph of intelligent design with deep cultural, social, and environmental purpose.

“It has enabled the college to deliver our mission in wider society of opening up Cambridge to a greater range of students than ever before and to make them feel like they belong.

“I would like to thank our project team. It has been a joy to work with Feilden Fowles Architects, Barnes Construction, Structure Workshop, Max Fordham, Bremner Partnership, Darwen Terracotta, Constructional Timber, and Hortus Collective.”

Principal Lord Simon Woolley added: “What a wonderful honour! In no small measure the award is vindication to the diversity dinners, such as Black History Month, the Lunar New Year, and our planned Social Mobility dinner - that gives true belonging in our cathedral to diversity and inclusion.”

Watch a video of the New Dining Hall (Feildon Fowles Architects)

dining hall

As one of the winners of RIBA’s East of England award, the New Dining Hall could be in line for a converted Sterling Prize.

The architects welcomed the award, writing on their website: “Feilden Fowles’ design for the hall is symbolic of Homerton’s progressive character and its bold social ambitions, yet simultaneously sits in dialogue with the rich architectural heritage of Cambridge.

“There are echoes of the marching buttresses of King’s College Chapel, references to the Victorian Gothic Revival of Homerton’s Great Hall, and motifs of the neighbouring Arts and Crafts Ibberson Building.

“The highly crafted material and tectonic language combine as a marker of today’s architectural thinking, an embodiment of low-tech design principles: an Arts & Crafts building for the 21st century.”

The hall, which opens up into the Buttery, features wood paneling to catch the light and combines aqueous green with pink concrete, to create a friendly and welcoming environment.

The building includes mechanical ventilation with heat recovery which uses waste heat from cooking extraction to temper incoming air.