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Former Barclays Bank Conversion – Bene’t Street

Cambridge architects announce plans to convert the Barclays Bank building in Bene’t Street

Cambridge architects, Freeland Rees Roberts, are nearing completion of their plans for converting the former Barclays Bank listed building in Bene’t Street in central Cambridge.

Appointed earlier this year by commercial property developers, Wrenbridge, who own the building, the architectural brief was to convert the site into a ‘mixed-use’ premises, with living accommodation on the upper floors, and restaurant premises on the ground floor. The planners have indicated their consent to the building being developed in this way. Click here to view Wrenbridge Press release

From the outset, the building project has generated a great deal of interest amongst prospective tenants, both for the accommodation and for the two restaurants. The two latter are now confirmed: Zizzi’s will occupy the Bene’t Street main frontage overlooking Peas Hill; whilst Cau, part of an Argentinian steak house group, will occupy the 1970’s extension, also opening onto Bene’t Street.

Graham Riley, the Freeland Rees Roberts architect leading on the design of the building, explains how diverse the structure is in terms of building periods: ‘We are looking at four phases in one’, he comments. ‘It has been quite a challenge to harmonise 18th century, 18th with 19th century and 20th century builds, and a large flat-roofed structure at the rear of the building.’

Interestingly, it has been the 1970’s wing of the building that has proved most challenging with the planning authorities in terms of architectural design. Structurally it is sound; aesthetically, not, in the eyes of the planners and the design panel that scrutinises all central-Cambridge projects, and they wish its appearance to be substantially improved. Freeland Rees Roberts, therefore, is now preparing a revised design of the 1970’s exterior to reflect the architectural style preferences of the 21stcentury, which includes an eye-catching roofline clad in copper.

Today, any building refurbishment should be eco-friendly. The current, unattractive flat roof will become a sustainable green roof, pleasing to the eye of residents, whilst the building’s eco-credentials as a whole will be improved. ‘We are planning solar hot water heating to the accommodation,’ says Graham Riley, ‘and will improve the building’s thermal performance by means of increased insulation, re-glazing and draught exclusion’.

It is intended that the restaurants will be open for trading by next Christmas and the residential accommodation should be ready for occupancy in 2013. Click here to view Cambridge News Article

This project can be seen here.

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