The £40 million Shared Facilities Hub at Cambridge University’s West Cambridge site is not just shared between students and academics of different departments, it also provides outreach opportunities for the local community.
As a result, the Jestico+Whiles design moved away from the institutionalised style of neighbouring facilities to create a building that is welcoming and engages with the adjacent public realm and open space.
The café and restaurant on the ground floor provide a range of catering facilities for university members and the general public. In creating a welcoming space though, the architects faced one special challenge – and found an answer in Waverley’s coil mesh curtains.
The design called for a new cafeteria which could be used all day long by students and others to socialise, work and meet supervisors. To serve lunch to a broad range of customers, including the public, the architect designed a large servery. However, the downside was the servery could look dark and unappealing outside core serving hours, when the university was aiming for a more relaxed, café culture.
Scott Lewis, project architect said:
“We knew we had to screen the space. But we wanted something more than purely functional. Our first port of call was a roller shutter, but this looked too industrial. So, we considered mobile panels, even a traditional curtain but nothing worked. Then we came across DrapeTech coil mesh from Waverley.”
Waverley recommended, manufactured and fitted a 15.28m-wide DrapeTech Ripplefold coil mesh curtain. Furthermore, the Cambridge curtain was made from 48mm 18-gauge aluminium mesh and hangs at 75% fullness.
Coil Mesh woven wire is a stylish and flexible screening solution. Translucency, texture and light reflection make this beautifully intricate mesh ideal for dividing spaces, decorating walls and columns, window treatment, decorative panels and ceiling features.
Although the product is more expensive than traditional screening, our Specification team proved its worth by securing a large sample which he took to the location to show architect and client how it would look.
The coil mesh perfectly fits the space. Scott added:
“Everything was right; the aesthetics, the lightness and the interest it creates in the space. This was important as the facility is a new concept for Cambridge University and they wanted high end finishes to create a luxury hospitality feel in the cafeteria.”
We identified how architects can get the best out of coil mesh in a separate blog here.