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CDC Studio

Porters' Lodge

A beacon of the College enveloped by nature. Competition runner up for University of Cambridge's Homerton College, our design creates a gateway between the college and community by creating legible access through the landscaped grounds and a welcoming porters' lodge.
External night time visualisation showing people stood around uplit building with brick cladding to ground floor and timber above with large winged roof. Internal light shines through vertical timber slats to upper floors | cdc studio cambridge architects
Visualisation of porters lodge quad showing covered eternal walkway adjacent to water feature and orchard trees  | cdc studio cambridge architects

"....modernity, elegance and use of light of the building. The water feature was also commented on positively as was the location which provided for obvious onward travel to the rest of the College."

Homerton College
Homerton College Concrete Sign | cdc studio cambridge architects
Homerton College trees and landscaped area.  | cdc studio cambridge architects
Hills Road Cambridge, CDC Studio Architects approach to designing the Porters Lodge

Homerton College occupies one of the largest and most verdant college estates in Cambridge. Covering nearly ten hectares, it is located to the south of the city centre and it is less than a kilometre from Cambridge Central Railway Station. The College Estate is bounded by Hills Road to the east and the Cambridge-London railway line to the west. To the north the Estate is split by Harrison Drive, with a smaller portion of the site, which is leased to the University’s Faculty of Education, to the north.

Approach to Homerton College, Cambridge,  Library Entrance for CDC Studio architects competition submission
Interior view of Homerton College Library, Cambridge | cdc studio cambridge architects

The brief is to design a new frontage for Homerton which will have a significant impact in the street scene. The Principal College Entrance Building will not only be a functional way in and way out, but will also be a statement to visitors, passers-by and to the city of Cambridge. That statement is about a sense of arrival. The building will be both assertive and welcoming. It will also say something about how far Homerton College has come and how important its identity is within the Cambridge of today – and tomorrow.

Competition Brief
Site plan by CDC Studio for Homerton College Porters Lodge Competition  | cdc studio cambridge architects
Arrival plan for Homerton College Cambridge, Porters Lodge Competition by CDC Studio Architects
Movement plan for Homerton College Cambridge by architects CDC Studio
Connections plan by architects CDC Studio for Homerton College cambridge

Repairing a landscape is central to our proposal and our design aspires to create outdoor spaces that invite and make legible the Homerton Campus, whilst establishing of a hierarchy of distinctive spaces. The lodge arch providing a marker of the College front door leading to the lodge.

Architects CDC Studio Illustrated landscape plan showing new proposed quad with orchard of mixed fruit trees, timber seating and a reflected pool | cambridge
Homerton College has a distinguished history and enjoys a close relationship with the University of Cambridge, being the youngest but largest college within the University. Its buildings are sited within a lovely and mature landscape, with its most prominent edge being on Hills Road. The proposal relocates the existing site access from Hills Road and splits it to form dedicated vehicular and pedestrian access points. These are formed between the avenue of historic lime trees along the street. The Principal Entrance is sited alongside the Mary Allen building, expressed as a complimentary but separate building. This is linked to the gateway on Hills Road with a lightweight canopy that provides shelter and directs visitors directly to the porter’s lodge and the exhibition space.
Overview of Homerton College Cambridge competition design by architects CDC Studio
Visualisation looking through gateway towards 3 story timber porters' lodge with student pushing bicycle in the foreground  | cdc studio cambridge architects
landscape approach to Homerton porters lodge competition  | cdc studio cambridge architects
concept sketch for homerton porters lodge competition | cdc studio cambridge architects
Illustrated render showing view across hills road towards gateway entrance and porters' lodge in distance with cyclist in the foreground  | cdc studio cambridge architects
exploded isometric drawing showing porters' lodge and quad in college site  | cdc studio cambridge architects
Visualisation showing view across hills road towards gateway entrance and porters' lodge in distance with landscaped pavement and trees in foreground  | cdc studio cambridge architects
Aerial diagram showing Hills Road and Homerton college buildings with porters' lodge and circulation routes highlighted  | cdc studio cambridge architects

A new legible front entrance is marked by a distinctive arch and reflection pool guiding you into the campus. Contrasting the strong directional forms of the walkway and entrance arch we have created a new quad of wild, messy and soft meadow planting. The natural wilderness wraps around the quad creating a frame linking the wider setting of the college.

3d floor plan illustration showing landscaped quad adjacent to porters' lodge connected to existing building with circulation routes emphasised  | cdc studio cambridge architects
Visualisation section cut through building showing external walkway & quad leading to porters' lodge with 2 story library above and winged roof  | cdc studio cambridge architects
The proposal arranges the accommodation over three storeys, linking to the existing library at each floor. The existing escape staircase is removed to enable the installation of a new stair and lift, providing better accessibility to the upper floors. This allows the library to ‘flow’ into the new extension, which forms a series of attractive new spaces for the library with visibility from Hills Road but also from within the college grounds. The height of the new addition is expressed with a gentle wing shape to the roofline which enables the structure of the roof to be expressed as a delicate crimped surface, highly visible through glazing from below. In this way, the primary functions of the college are made manifest in the new building, expressing its purpose as a place of learning. The building forms part of the entrance canopy which itself defines the new landscaped quad, inviting visitors from the road to the college entrance in an open but secure way.
Visualisation showing students chatting in porters' lodge lobby  | cdc studio cambridge architects
Visualisation of porters' lodge welcome desk with views out across landscaped quad  | cdc studio cambridge architects

Although this proposal has a striking form, its major objective is to provide a place where the college community meets the public in a way that is legible and inviting and which speaks of the civic responsibilities of the college.

Visualisation of library reading room | cdc studio cambridge architects
homerton porters lodge competition | cdc studio cambridge architects
homerton porters lodge letter holes | cdc studio cambridge architects
looking toward the porters lodge homerton college | cdc studio cambridge architects
reading room at homerton library porters lodge competition  | cdc studio cambridge architects
Night time visualisation showing uplit building next to trees. Ground floor is clad in light brick, with vertical timber to upper floors and tall winged roof  | cdc studio cambridge architects
  • Client

    Homerton College, University of Cambridge
  • Location

  • Budget

  • Design Team

    Michael Hadi Associates
    Max Fordham
    Farrer Huxley
  • Team

    Robin Dryer, Mark Clarke, Delphine Dryer, Elliot Shaw, James Howells, Ana Pratas, Ting Khu
  • Images

    CDC Studio, Farrer Huxley