Kettle’s Yard

Jamie Fobert Architects, Cambridge, 2017

 

Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Ketttle's Yard is is bounded by the congested Castle Street on one side, a Grade II-listed 17th-century museum and a church dating back to the 12th century 

Hufton + Crow     Download Original

  • Ketttle    
  • The oak doorway of the extension    
  • A courtyard next to the cottages was roofed over to become offices lit by a bay window rescued from a sweetshop    
  • The pine staircase    
  • The character is of an exemplary contemporary art gallery with deliberately neutral and functional display spaces     
  • The brief was challenging: to create generous spaces on a small footprint    
  • The refurbishment has attracted more visitors than ever before    
  • Views are now possible from the heart of the building across the sunken classroom through another bronze-framed window and the street    
  • Two airy new galleries have been slotted into the back of the terrace    
  • Rooflights floor lights into the gallery space    
  • Floor plans    
  • Sections AA and BB    
  • Original rooflight detail by Leslie Martin and David Owers    
  • Rooflight detail section    

A remodelling of Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge attempts to retain the gallery’s original domestic spirit.

A 1970 extension to a row of knocked-through cottages transformed Kettle’s Yard from what had been a home and house museum in a backwater of Cambridge into an important regional gallery. The place has been transformed again by Jamie Fobert and his team. The brief was challenging: to create generous spaces on a small footprint, which seamlessly continue from the house and are fit for the needs of a 21st-century gallery.  

Jamie Fobert Architects was first commissioned in 2004 to create an education wing in the last part of the Castle Street frontage to become available. But a change of director and hiatus later, the entire building between the east side of Martin’s double-height volume and the retained wall of the Castle Street terrace has been hollowed out and remodelled. Rotten roofs have been rebuilt and brick floors cleaned. An entrance foyer has been created in patinated bronze and glass, leading into the remodelled trio of galleries, now the entrance desk and shop, which are paved in brick. Shopfitting details pick up on the simple white painted joinery found in the cottage. The former offices are now a café area with the rotten sweetshop bay replaced in patinated bronze.

Two airy new galleries have been slotted into the back of the terrace and its yard reached by a concrete-walled ramp or steps. The first of these galleries is lit from above with rooflights enlarged but with the same proportions as the originals; the second fronts the street with 4.4m-high bronze framed glass doors.

Beyond is the education wing, reached by another concrete staircase leading down from a balcony to an excavated basement. Views are now possible from the heart of the building across the sunken classroom through another bronze-framed window and the street. Further along, the restored façade is Gallery 3 – essentially a vitrine slotted in for viewing from the pavement. 

From a circulation space between the galleries, a new black steel staircase with chunky welds folds up the rear of the terrace inside a black weatherclad form. This leads to a lecture theatre, archive space and offices on the upper floors, culminating in a landing and window seat with views of spires. 

Data

  • Begun: Sep 2015
  • Completed: Oct 2017
  • Floor area: 1,080m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £11M
  • Procurement: NEC3/Design and Build
  • Address: Castle Street, Cambridge, CB3 0AQ, United Kingdom

Professional Team

AJBL Sponsor

Armstrong World Industries

A global leader in providing customised, multi material ceiling and wall solutions

Find out more