Ash Court, Girton College

New student residential accommodation block in the Green Belt adjacent to Grade II* listed buildings.


Girton College was the country's first female college and moved to its present site just north of the city in 1873. It was designed by three generations of the Waterhouse family and all the main buildings are Grade II* listed.

In 2011, the college wanted to add a building to provide 50 new student rooms so that all of its undergraduates could be housed on campus. Sports and social facilities also needed upgrading and a gym complex was included in the scheme together with refurbishment and external rebuilding of the college swimming pool and the landscaping of Ash Court. The new building was designed by Allies & Morrison architects who won the architectural competition.

Beacon liaised with South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) to ensure that the principle of a new building, to complete the fourth side of Ash Court, would be acceptable, given its location in the Green Belt. Beacon then led discussions with English Heritage, SCDC and The Victorian Society to ensure it met the college's requirements whilst respecting and sitting comfortably with the fine architectural legacy of the Waterhouse-designed buildings.

The building achieved a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating and includes electricity-generating photovoltaic cells on the roof, ground-source heat pumps and heat recovery from the room ventilation system, which will play a major part in the College's strategy for reducing its carbon footprint.

We acted as planning consultants, prepared the Heritage and Planning Statements for the planning applications, as well as an application to extend the car park.


Planning permission and listed building consent were granted on 14 September 2011. Since then, we have dealt with various amendments to the original consents and the development was completed in October 2013.

The building has won a number of awards, including a RIBA East Award and RIBA Regional Award for Sustainability (2014).

ClientGirton College
AppointedFebruary 2011
Services providedAdvice   Application  
BP teamJon Burgess   Jenny Page  
Project value£6.8m
ArchitectAllies and Morrison
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