Corpus Christi College, Cambridge



Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

PBA is part of the team refurbishing the iconic Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. We were appointed to update the Old House kitchens, making them fit for the 21st century and returning the Old Hall to its medieval splendour.

Corpus Christi College was founded in 1352 by the Brethren and Sisters of the United Guild. The current kitchens are housed in the Grade 1 listed, 14th century medieval Old Hall and needed modernisation to transform the first-floor mezzanine from kitchen into a servery and relocate the mechanical services that filled the Old Hall roof space.

The project presented significant structural engineering challenges as most of the building records had been lost. By researching through publicly available sources, PBA engineered a solution that addressed the myriad structural issues associated with the age of the building and the alterations that had been made throughout the centuries.

The team were able to re-support the Old Hall Chimney, create new openings through the medieval Old Hall wall to improve circulation, and locate 20T of mechanical plant on a new concealed steel deck spanning 12m clear above the Old Hall roof. The most challenging issue was that the medieval walls were built from ‘clunch’ - faced-in dressed chalk blocks with a chalk rubble core in lime mortar, up to 900mm thick in places. Several remedial wall ties were trialled to bind the core to the facing blocks around new openings and stabilise the structure; a self-drilling, helical tie was eventually selected as the most successful.

The structural works to this historic building are now complete. Plant installation and kitchen fitting are well underway and the new, state of the art kitchens will open in early 2019.