St John’s College new dining room, bar and café

Education & Public Sector

St John’s College new dining room, bar and café

Project Info

Exploiting the dramatic potential of the aesthetic and structural capabilities of engineered oak, the glulam superstructure is the centrepiece of this suit of new social spaces for St John’s College.

Providing a place at the heart of the College for the whole community to meet, eat and work in an inviting and relaxed atmosphere, the new dining room, bar and café respond gracefully to the surrounding Grade-I listed buildings. The glulam oak roof covering the buttery dining room is free-standing. Its curved trapezoidal timber structure was carefully engineered to be formed of prefabricated components, sized to be brought onto site over an ancient bridge across the River Cam.

Despite the challenges of preserving historic detail and meeting the complex demands of developing a Grade-I building, BREEAM Excellent rating was achieved for both the refurbishment and new build elements of the project.


ArchitectMCW Architects

Structural EngineerSmith and Wallwork

Wood SupplierEurban

ContractorBarnes Construction

SpeciesOak Glulam (Spain and France) - PEFC certified

DesignerRIBA Stage 4 frame design partner - Blumer Lehmann

ClientSt John's College, Cambridge


PhotographerRichard Fraser and St John’s College, Cambridge