Students move into new rooms

Monday, 16 November, 2015 - 14:45
New Kitchen and social space A Staircase

The completion of ‘A’ staircase on 16 October marks an important moment in the realisation of the College’s ambitious refurbishment project to update all its 50-year-old student accommodation.

‘A’ staircase has been transformed, and now has 20 newly-refurbished semi-ensuite study bedrooms, in three ‘flats’, on three floors, new kitchens and social spaces, a wheelchair-accessible room and a new glazed porch to minimise heat loss.

Interior study bedroom A staircase

Whelchair-accessible study bedroom

The renovation project was carefully coordinated to preserve aspects of the original College accommodation design, an early project of renowned architect Sir Denys Lasdun. Fitzwilliam College selected Cambridge-based architects RH Partnership for the project due to their proven expertise in sensitively remodelling 1960s design in line with contemporary technical and social standards. 

Katie Bryden (right) who studies History, is one of the Freshers who has benefited from the refurbishment. Katie said: “The new accommodation in A block in fantastic. My new room is really light, modern and spacious, and having an ensuite shower makes it even better. The kitchen is really useful, especially the addition of an oven – and the new social space on the corridor means that you have an area where you can relax and spend time with your friends, which helps you settle into university life.”

The ambitious project was kick-started by a generous donation from alumnus Roger Graham OBE (Engineering 1958) and his wife Irene, who made a lead gift of £500,000 towards the refurbishment.  In addition, the College is grateful to a number of other alumni whose donations helped make the refurbishment possible.

Roger Graham said: “It is a great pleasure to be able to contribute to the experience of succeeding generations of Fitzwilliam students by providing them with more personal and communal accommodation on each floor, enabling them to create their own community in a 21st century environment.”

Exterior A,B and C StaircaseThe external work to staircases A, B and C was completed in 2014 and the plan is to start work on the interiors of B and C during the summer vacation 2016, subject to funding.

Andy Milne, Domestic Bursar, said: “The Lasdun architecture of the 1960s has been transformed externally by high quality double-glazed windows, new roof and significant concrete cleaning and repairs. This block now looks truly modern, while retaining most of the original design features.”

Speaking on behalf of the architects, David Emond said: “RH Partnership is delighted with the transformation of the accommodation in A staircase. We look forward to rolling out a programme of work to upgrade the adjacent buildings to a similar standard.”

Andrew Powell, Bursar, said: “I would like to thank all the professional advisors, contractors, Fellows, students and College staff who have worked so hard as a team to make this happen.  Among Fitzwilliam’s staff my particular thanks go to Agnes Giangrande (Accommodation and Housekeeping Manager), David Holton (Acting Maintenance Manager), Andy Milne (Domestic Bursar), and Andrew Perry (Deputy IT Manager).”

Bursar, staff and contractors at the handover of A Staircase 
The handover, from left: Kaye Scupham (Assistant to Domestic Bursar), Andrew Powell (Bursar), Will Hagan, John Wackett (both of Quinn London Ltd), David Holton (Acting Maintenance Manager), Phil Hutchins (Roger Parker Associates), Michael Smithson (Edmond Shipway), Agnes Giangrande (Accommodation and Housekeeping Manager).

The project was managed on behalf of the College by Michael Smithson of Edmond Shipway LLP. The contractors were Quinn London Ltd; Roger Parker Associates were the Environmental Services Engineers and Peter Brett Associates the Structural Engineers.