Storey’s Field Centre & Eddington Nursery

MUMA, Cambridge, 2018


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Perforated walls lend depth and shadows 

Jim Stephenson     Download Original

  • Perforated walls lend depth and shadows    
  • MUMA opted for a variegated Dutch brick, which it has deployed in different patterns to great effect on the building’s exterior    
  • The town extension caters for University of Cambridge postgrads and key workers    
  • Wienerberger bricks were used on the project    
  • MUMA has introduced passive ventilation throughout the building using a series of handsome ventilation grilles    
  • The hall has a 180-seat capacity    
  • The facade rises 15m in height    
  • Inside the courtyard    
  • A cloister wrapping the play garden provides external circulation to the classrooms and covered play    
  • The building’s pièce de résistance is the highly-tuned 10m-high main hall    
  • The hall features an oak sprung floor    
  • Textured brickwork complements the play of light    
  • The hall is naturally ventilated    
  • The building’s environmental agenda earned it a BREEAM Outstanding rating at design stage    
  • The classrooms are lofty and light-filled    
  • The nursery school forms three sides of a cloistered court, with the community centre forming the fourth side    
  • Inside the nursery    
  • The nursery    
  • Site plan    
  • Basement level plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Upper level plan    
  • Balcony level plan    
  • Section AA    
  • Detail section    

Storey’s Field Centre, North West Cambridge’s only civic building, combines a community centre and nursery school.

The most evident element on the façades is the ribbon of benches that wrap around the foot of the building, one forming an indented suntrap on the southern flank, while others project along the west-facing façade, stepping gently up towards the nursery school’s entrance. With their seats formed of fossilised Purbeck grub stone, these benches offer an invitation for people to engage with the building.

The civic-sized single volume of the main hall is revealed through a vertical window in a façade that rises 15m in height, exceeding the masterplan’s original 10m limit.

The nursery school forms three sides of a cloistered court, with the community centre forming the fourth side. The nursery’s entrance is at the north end, where, due to the building line canting away from the road, a wider pavement allows for milling parents.

The courtyard play space, designed by Sarah Price Landscapes, provides a sensory feast of materials and environments both natural and artificial: knolls, slides and even an orchard of ‘retired’ apple trees, replanted here after their commercially productive lives. The architecture adds to the fun, with the downpipes from the cedar-shingled roof replaced by chains, intensifying the sight and sound of water for children when it rains.  

Sustainability measures, including a rooftop photovoltaic array, are all but invisible. Two bold moves define the passive approach here. Firstly, eliminating internal corridors from the nursery means that dual-aspect classrooms are cross-ventilated. Simple horizontal clerestory windows on actuators are manually controlled. Children, staff and food trolleys circulate via external covered porticos in the nursery courtyard, whose size reflects those of nearby Cambridge colleges. 

Secondly, increasing the height of the community centre to 15m enables natural ventilation for its main hall as well as improving the acoustics. The additional height marries with the architectural intent of creating a building with civic presence. 


  • Begun: Sep 2015
  • Completed: Jan 2018
  • Floor area: 2,248m2
  • Sectors: Civic, Education, Public realm, Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £8.3M
  • Procurement: NEC3: Engineering and Construction Contract, option B: priced contract with bill of quantities
  • Address: Eddington Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 1AA, United Kingdom

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