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Architype wins AJ100 Collaboration of the Year for Cambridge scheme


Source:  Jack Hobhouse/Solk Photography

Architype has won the AJ100 Collaboration of the Year award for its work with Peter Kelly at ISG and Eve Waldron on the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s Entopia Building, Cambridge

‘It demonstrates the true meaning of collaboration in terms of the journey from beginning to end,’ enthused the judges of the winner, the exemplar retrofit Entopia (pictured). ‘It sets itself up as a model in an open and generous way for use by the industry. It pushes the agenda of changing the way of approaching projects, which links in with the circular economy.’

The collaboration between Architype, contractor ISG and interior designer Eve Waldron was crucial to Entopia meeting its circular economy goals. Working together, the design team met the demanding circular economy brief with extensively retained and repurposed materials, and new products designed for repair, refurbishment, re-use and disassembly. Their resourcefulness gave objects that were still functional a second life, reducing construction waste and carbon emissions.

The building gained a BREEAM innovation credit by re-using lighting from another refurbishment. This required testing and re-warrantying of more than 350 LED lights, an extraordinary measure taken counter to the typical construction industry approach, with most suppliers reluctant to give guarantees on products that are no longer new.

Source:Jack Hobhouse/Solk Photography

The lifts were also retained, with the original manufacturer testing, replacing parts and re‑warrantying the lift. A desk recovered from the headquarters of Netflix was re-shaped to fit the new entrance space. Its stone surface, damaged in the removal process, was repaired using the Japanese kintsugi visible repair method to celebrate the building’s ethos. Leftover furniture in the building was diverted from landfill, avoiding wastage of 21,000kg of CO2, with 21,600kg of chairs, tables and storage cabinets donated to local communities. Bio‑based materials such as hemp were used to revitalise used furniture and create a healthy working environment.

Entopia has achieved three stringent sustainability standards: EnerPHit (the Passivhaus standard for retrofit), WELL Gold and BREEAM Outstanding.

‘They used a proper process, where you have a project charter,’ said the judges. ‘The whole team had buy-in with that. It was a golden thread that ran through right from the start and everybody put in that effort to deliver it well. Then there’s the study of the process, the open book approach, so people could learn from every stage. It’s a really powerful approach to retrofit.’ In short: ‘We collaborate to create something and make change. It has to have a meaning. This collaboration achieves that.’

Highly commended: Hawkins\Brown with Be First, Cast and Ramboll on Housing Pattern Book

Sample bathroom pod from the Housing Pattern Book

With GLA funding, Hawkins\Brown (architecture, BIM), Ramboll (structures,  M&E) and Cast (cost and supply chain management) worked hand-in-hand with Be First – the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham’s wholly owned development and planning company – to create guidance that provides a framework for architects and engineers to implement a design for manufacture and assembly approach for public housing. The Pattern Book was also developed in collaboration with residents, suppliers, through peer review by architects from other practices and in discussion with other local authorities. The standardisation of solutions aims to give designers more time to focus on placemaking and materiality to create unique homes and neighbourhoods. ‘There’s true engagement and co-design here,’ said the judges. ‘It puts both the social and the environmental impact at the centre of the collaboration in a way that should be followed by the whole industry.’


  • Atkins with the Department for Education on Energy Pods for schools
  • Part Z Team of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with IStructE, University of Strathclyde, CIBSE, Targeting ZERO and Arup
  • Zaha Hadid Architects with Education Above All on modular play and education spaces for displaced children


  • Wolfgang Buttress, artist, Wolfgang Buttress Studio
  • Teri Okoro, director, TOCA
  • Clare Richards, founding director, Footwork
  • Kieron Taylor, design director, AKT II

AJ100 Collaboration of the Year is sponsored by

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