A major construction milestone has been reached in the restoration and extension of Old Court to include the River Room café at Clare College Cambridge.
Representatives from the college, construction team and project partners, came together to celebrate the ‘topping out’. To mark the occasion, Clare College Bursar, Elizabeth Conder, Senior Tutor, Dr Jacqueline Tasioulas, Fellow for Development, Dr Toby Wilkinson and Estates Director, Deborah Hoy, joined Joint Managing Director of Barnes Construction, Mark Hart, to help lay the first piece of sedum on the roof of the new River Room.
Historically the topping out ceremony draws on centuries of tradition, with builders celebrating the moment a structure becomes watertight. Originally used as an opportunity to bestow good luck on a structure, today it is seen as a moment to thank the workforce, bring together everyone involved in the project and celebrate progress.
The project team for the multi-million-pound scheme, to refurbish the existing lower ground floor kitchen area of Old Court and create the River Room and North Passage, includes Barnes Construction as the main contractor, London architects, Witherford Watson Mann, and Cambridge-based businesses, Smith and Wallwork, Henry Riley and Max Fordham.
Commenting on the event, Mark Hart said:
“The work is particularly sensitive because of its historic significance and the construction team have all been working really hard to keep everything on track, so this event was a great opportunity to thank them. With just four months to go until the project is handed over, we have much still to do. Work will now continue in earnest on completing the installation and commissioning of the new industrial kitchen, installing the lifts and completing the oak panelling and slated timber ceiling finishes.”
Deborah Hoy added:
“The Old Court project is a transformational project for the College, ensuring that the Grade 1 listed building is equipped to meet the needs of a twenty-first century education. The River Room café will be a fabulous space for Students, Fellows and Staff to work and socialise, whilst the reorganisation of the North Range circulation spaces of Old Court will make Clare’s formal rooms fully accessible for the first time. The Topping Out ceremony was a key milestone in the project and the College is looking forward to completion of the River Room by the summer and moving into the next phase of Old Court conservation in the Autumn.”
When completed, as well as the River Room being created, a new three-storey extension will have been built where it adjoins the existing main college building, housing a new servery area, toilet and disabled facilities, as well as a lift and fire escapes.
Photo taken by Warren Page Pagepix and shows the project team with from left to right in the foreground: From Clare College, Fellow for Development, Dr Toby Wilkinson and Senior Tutor, Dr Jacqueline Tasioulas, Mark Hart, Joint MD Barnes Construction, Estates Director, Deborah Hoy and Elizabeth Conder, Bursar at Clare College.
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