Client: Essex County Council
Location: Colchester
Status: Complete

Colchester Institute

Saunders Boston Architects (SBA) were requested by Essex Housing, the development arm of Essex County Council, to carry out a feasibility study for a new library and community facilities together with luxury residential units to replace the existing library.

The project would provide 1375sqm of Library and community space together with 20 large apartments of one, two and three bedrooms with generous terraces overlooking the cricket grounds and attractive views of Epping Forest beyond.

The proposed building seeks to work in harmony with the context nestling beside a copse of mature trees providing a contemporary and innovative scheme. The design concept was to create a central four storey glazed atrium with a full height green wall that connects the park area with the library core. Whilst the projecting wrap around terraces to the apartments above create a light and elegant design.

The palette of materials soften the scheme with black timber cladding to the ground floor walls creating intervals of solid and glazing to provide areas of privacy for reading and areas flooded with daylight. A balance of full width and height glazing and lighter timber cladding above lifts the building. A series of slender columns at carefully positioned intervals articulate the entrances to the library and connect to the neighbouring trees.

Open gallery

“A huge thank you, for the excellent design and management of these projects, there were lots of complex areas which were over two sites and we are receiving some truly wonderful feedback and I am so appreciative of your continuous desire to achieve the very best for us. The feedback from staff and students has been amazing, like none I have ever heard at the College and the colours are a real talking point and bring such vibrancy to the environment. Thank you so much.”

Natalie Gilbert - Facilities Manager, Colchester Institute