On Saturday 14 July, the AIA United Kingdom chapter held a one day conference hosted by Dr. Mark Breeze at St. John's College, Cambridge University. The Super Saturday concept involves hosting a single day conference that maximizes the continuing education opportunities on a single day, taking in a variety of content including lectures and tours. Many of the attendees this year travelled that morning on the train from London and other cities in the Southeast of England in time for the first session at 9am, although we were thrilled to have an AIA CE chapter member from Ireland travel to attend the event. Several university students that participated in the chapter's student charrette in the autumn also attended.
The first session included a 2-hour guided walking tour of Cambridge led by Dr. Maria Copot. The group learned about development of University of Cambridge, the second-oldest University in the English-speaking world comprised of 31 constituent colleges, and admired the many courts and chapels while also taking in the views along the River Cam. One of the attendees, Eve Waldron, was also able to provide additional insight into a current project at Darwin College which was serendipitously on the tour route.
After the lunch provided for attendees at St. John's College, the emphasis shifted to sustainability. Hero Bennett of the engineering consultancy Max Fordham shared insight into approaches to energy efficiency and the advanced targets set by the emerging New London Plan policies. The policy currently proposed for London clearly sets its sights on carbon neutrality, the de-carbonization of the energy grid in the UK, and managing heat risk, where the target is to avoid mechanical cooling for new residential units.Oliver Smith, Director of 5th Studio presented work on refurbishing and improving the performance of Grade-I listed New Court, Trinity College, Cambridge which was originally built in 1825.The group also heard from Allies & Morrison on the firm's approach to Sustainable Masterplanning.
Following the lectures, the group briskly walked over to Churchill College, Cambridge founded in 1960. Rory Corr of 6a Architects gave an overview of the original courtyard buildings of the college, beautiful examples of English Brutalist architecture, before giving a tour of the recently completed Cowan Court, a new 68-room hall of residence. The new building exemplifies many sustainable approaches, including the reclaimed oak used extensively on the facade.
For those able to stay and enjoy the long summer evening daylight, attendees and presenters enjoyed collegiate conversation sat in the grassy bank of the river, concluding a wonderful day out.