Cambridge University Colonnade

Location: Cambridge

Client: Cambridge University

Sector: Education

Cost: £2.5m

Status: Competition Winning Entry

The competition winning 400-metre long colonnade is a central architectural feature of the masterplan on the University of Cambridge’s new science and technology campus.

The colonnade design was inspired by the vernacular tradition of lightweight solar-shading canopies, filigree structures, and the latest photovoltaic technology. Three catenarian ribbons of solar panels gently undulate along the path of the 400-metre long structure.

The ribbons are supported on a highly efficient modular structure that defines the space and creates the colonnade. Because the ribbons undulate alternately and overlap in plan, they create ‘gaps’ which allow views out from the future adjacent buildings whilst providing shelter from rain and sun.

An important example of sustainability is the incorporation of photovoltaic cells into the roof of the colonnade. The project will be an EU Hydrogen Economy demonstration project, the first of its kind in the UK.

The process converts sunlight into electricity, which is then used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then stored and used to power a carbon free bus that will link the campus to the centre of Cambridge.

Sustainable and environmental features:

  • Photovoltaics
  • Shading / Overhangs