Posted on 25 nov 2020

Back to The Forum – Future Proofing a Cambridge College

Updates by Guy Robertson

Last year, Jesus College, Cambridge set us a challenge...

The College’s dining hall and kitchen facilities needed to be decanted elsewhere for two years, so work could move forward on their prestigious new kitchen redevelopment project – another scheme being project managed by Northmores.

Instead of adopting the industry’s standard approach of installing temporary kitchen cabins or perhaps marquees to host the College community, the Northmores’ team explored a more environmentally-sound, long-term option.

Supporting the College’s onus on sustainability, our solution was to “upcycle” an under- utilised building within the College grounds, creating a comprehensive and adaptable dining and conference facility.

Original Forum Building

Located behind West Court and Marshall Court, The Forum was originally a large garage for the Marshall’s car showroom on Jesus Lane and most recently was used as a storage area. The space had to be upgraded to accommodate the College’s existing Hall, Upper Hall, kitchen area, servery and associated catering facilities.

Northmores advised on areas of design and specification to ensure the College would benefit from the longevity and multiuse functions of the venue. 

As with all projects taking place during the pandemic, we adapted quickly and managed the challenges, in particular the access points and layout of the venue, so the College were able to plan and easily implement new safety measures to protect staff and students.

The country's initial Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent site closures caused a slight lapse in programme, however work resumed on site with clear social distancing in May 2020. The Forum project was completed to a high standard and handed back to Jesus College before the start of the new academic year.

The Forum offers a modern, bright and flexible dining facility, with access from the College ground and from West Court outside the site. The clean and functional work environment, with good sized kitchens and flexible dining spaces have been well-received by the chef and the catering team.

With an additional 20-year life span on the initial temporary accommodation concepts, Northmores has provided the College with excellent value for money, and an additional revenue stream through their new conference facilities.

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