St Mary’s School Lab

To promote a wider understanding and appreciation of the construction industry

Photograph of children using the St Mary's School STEM lab

Best conservation / adaptation under £2m: Winnner: St Mary’s School Lab

In this category there was one winner and one commendation.


Client: St Mary’s School Cambridge

Architect: NEUBAU

Structural Engineer: Simple Works

Contractor: M.G. Monk & Son

Photography: Nick Guttridge


Judges Comments:

“We decided to judge this as an adaptation project as the principle of the re-used greenhouse is so important to the character of the building. 

This is a really lovely and impressive project.  The school’s determination to re-use the old base and structure of its derelict greenhouse is commendable, and they have done so very successfully.  The concrete slab and aluminium frame were retained and the glass windows replaced by opaque polycarbonate walls.  Internally, the fit out to high standards for STEM teaching has worked brilliantly.  The interior is warm and simple, using space cleverly (the fold-away desks are ingenious and there is plenty of storage space), revealing the architecture and technology:  for example the original winding gear is used to manage ventilation.  So the greenhouse has been turned into a learning tool itself.  We particularly liked the booklet that has been produced telling the story of the greenhouse for children of different ages. Not only is this a great re-use of the steel and concrete invested in the original building, it is clear that careful attention has been given to the environmental design:  lots of daylight with glare and solar gains managed; clerestory vents in keeping with the original greenhouse character.  To coin a phrase, the building has been ‘upcycled’ and will be an asset for many years to come.”