St John’s College Buttery

To promote a wider understanding and appreciation of the construction industry

Photograph of St Johns College Dining Room

Best conservation/adaptation over £2m: Highly Commended: St John’s College Buttery and Cafe 

In this category there was one winner and one commendation.



Turner & Townsend

Faithful & Gould


Smith and Wallwork Engineers

KJ Tait Engineers




Barnes Construction

Image credits: Richard Fraser and William Burgess

Judges Comments

“The scale and complexity of this project – part of St John’s Masterplan which focuses on creating a stronger sense of community – impressed us. It responds to the demands of students post-covid to work in attractive spaces outside their rooms, and amply meets this goal.  The project combines a rebuild and extensive reordering within a highly sensitive G1 listed environment, creating level access throughout.  It involved moving the Grade 1 listed Grimbold pillars and creating a new external terrace, the complete reconfiguration of the old buttery and student JCR/bar areas, and the demolition and rebuilding of the 1970s buttery, transforming the area into attractive eating and working spaces with different atmospheres, which are clearly working well and are popular.  The piece de resistance is the curved, trapezoidal structure of the new 5-bayed oak glulam roof, which is carefully and lightly attached to the historic external wall, and creates a beautiful new interior for the buttery including a green wall.  Each ceiling bay is slightly different (to account for views out above it) and it not only achieves beauty but good management of acoustics.  From an environmental perspective the project has been a catalyst to remove the reliance on gas for this difficult corner of a large and complex site.  Intricately co-ordinated ventilation assists the insulation to reduce heating demand, which is met by Air Source Heat Pumps.  The use of the rooflight structure to provide night cooling will be invaluable as the weather warms.”