Architect: Feilden Fowles
Client/Owner: Homerton College
Structural Engineer: Structure Workshop
Main Contractor: Barnes Construction
Joinery Company: Classic Barfitting
Wood Supplier: Constructional Timber
Species: Sweet Chestnut, European Whitewood/Spruce (Germany), American Ash, PEFC
Photography credits: © Jim Stephenson & David Grandorge
The project comprises a dining hall, buttery, kitchens, and associated amenities. The faience-clad hall is a bright, airy, and efficient space by day; transforming into a dramatic ceremonial setting at night. The ash-lined buttery serves as a café and provides students socialising and study space on the balcony.
The structure was crucial to the design from the outset, in enabling a large, clear space for the hall with no interrupting supports. Each sweet chestnut glulam truss is formed of four members connected at a central node and to the full height columns each side, while above these beams a CLT roof deck lends lateral stability.
This combination of high performing engineered timber with traditional joinery achieves an elegance, revealed in the butterfly truss design, which is not only aesthetic and echoes traditional collegiate halls, but also exploits the compressive strength of timber in its structure.