The modern architecture of Cambridge - Storey's field centre

Before visiting Cambridge, Cambridgeshire , I somehow already had a predefined picture of this city. I imagined it to be really dark due to dark brick buildings everywhere. But actually, it turned out to be the complete opposite: It was a lovely very multifaceted, lively, modern and green city. The city centre is a beautifully orchestrated harmony of classic architecture in symbiosis with modern and trendy stores, cafés and restaurants.

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The outskirts of Cambridge are in sharp contrast to that, consisting of entirely newly built districts, with no cafés, restaurants or any other services. It’s a classic example of de-urbanisation: Families live in the outskirts of the city in order to live in a calm neighbourhood with lots of free space, at the cost of commuting to the city centre for services. Still, this new district of Storey’s Field has not been finished and some more sub-districts have to been built, but I loved it already. The architectural landmark in this area is clearly the Community Hall, which I had the pleasure to photograph.

One day before the shoot, I already scouted the location, to figure out the optimal lighting for the front of the building. So I used the augmented reality function of my Photo Pills app to check at which time the golden sunlight was about to illuminate the front of the Community Hall’s building. That way, I could perfectly plan ahead my shots for the next day, without wasting time on-location waiting for the perfect light.

The Community Hall itself has been designed to become a more important place in the new community at Storey’s Field, to become its civic centre or town hall. It offers opportunities for weddings, music concerts, funerals, political debate, which gives it a significance above and beyond a space for hobbies, exercise, local groups and kids parties. To address this enhanced symbolic value for the community, the architects stepped the building side wards to address a longer view in the masterplan, and set it back to create a gathering space outside the Hall and a parents’ drop-off space outside the Nursery. To complete the sense of civic pride, the external walls of the Hall are lined with comfortable seats to stop and chat to neighbours while you wait to enter.