New College Court, Emmanuel College

A phased transformation of the Emmanuel College Site around three new landscaped courts.


New residential student blocks with 59 ensuite rooms, gyms, fellow flats, and a 50-space subterranean car park, plus the transformation of a Grade II listed building to provide seminar, teaching, office, bar and event spaces along with the rebuilding of the South Court Social Hub.


The project was Emmanuel College’s most significant development for over 100 years and was located in the heart of the Cambridge Historic Core Conservation Area, in close proximity to the College’s historic Grade I and Grade II listed buildings.  The aim was to redevelop a neglected part of the College site to create new facilities that enabled the College to meet its ambition to accommodate all undergraduate students on-site and for its community to mix, work and gather in new ways.  Skelly & Couch were appointed as both M&E engineers and sustainability consultants and undertook full design duties using BIM. 

From inception, Skelly & Couch worked closely with the architects to ensure the building massing and orientation was optimised to make best use of daylight and sunlight in all internal and external spaces.  The advantages and disadvantages of concrete and CLT frames were considered and GGBS concrete frame with timber internal partitions and highly insulated timber facades was chosen for its improved performance in terms of summertime overheating and acoustics. 

The system design included a number of energy and water saving measures such as mechanical ventilation and heat reclaim, rainwater recycling, Combined heat and power hot water heating, efficient LED lighting and controls.  The strategy also included the implementation of an open loop ground source heat pump system that takes water from the underlying Lower Greensand Formation and provides heating and cooling to all of the buildings in the South of the College.  It also includes an extensive 60kWp PV array on the South Court Building. 

All of these measures represented an 80% operational carbon controls, low flow water fittings and a large Photovoltaic Array on the roof that powers the communal spaces.

Driven by a vision to cultivate an interconnected community, Emmanuel College adds a contemporary layer to its historic setting while enhancing social and intellectual life and prioritising sustainability for future relevance.


Press Coverage

Architecture Today


Preston Bus Station

Preston Bus Station, designed originally by BDP and completed in 1969, is a renowned, Grade II-listed Brutalist building, which Skelly & Couch has helped to return to its former glory through modern technologies and sensitive refurbishment techniques.

Rhodes House, Oxford

Skelly & Couch has completed Stage 4 design at the Grade II*-listed Rhodes House, Oxford, for a new world-class convening hub designed to encourage the global exchange of ideas across all cultures and nationalities.

Science and Industry Museum SEG Manchester

The £5m Special Exhibitions Gallery combines grand industrial beauty and stunning sustainable design as part of a masterplan to restore and renovate a Grade I-listed railway station, warehouse and Grade II-listed railway viaduct.

St Peter's RC Seminary, Cardross

Skelly & Couch has contributed to the first phase of the ‘rescue’ and restoration of one of Scotland’s greatest Modernist buildings, designed by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, which has lain in ruins for 25 years.

Theatr Clwyd

Winner of Regional Theatre of the Year at The Stage 2021 Awards, Grade II-listed Theatr Clwyd is one of Wales’ major cultural assets and is undergoing a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ £35m redevelopment.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

The Grade I-listed Theatre Royal Drury Lane, owned and managed by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres and built originally in 1812, is set to regain its status as the prime venue for musical theatre in London. 

Waddesdon Manor Visitor Pavilion

A practical and contemporary-style pavilion for the visitors of Grade I-listed Waddesdon Manor.

Walwick Hall

Nestled in the scenic landscape of rural Northumberland, Walwick Hall is a Grade II-listed country hotel located in a one hundred acre Georgian estate. The site is situated within the World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall Buffer Zone, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Warburg Institute

Skelly & Couch is presently involved in the refurbishment and building extension of the Warburg Institute which addresses the building’s infrastructure issues but also instigates the development of a new lecture theatre in a 1950s library.

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