Alconbury Civic Hub is AHMM’s fifth project at the Alconbury Enterprise Campus, the redevelopment of a former RAF airfield in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. The new Civic Hub is designed to provide innovative and contemporary workspace for Cambridgeshire County Council's staff as well as providing the public with a new welcoming Civic Hub.
The curved building is split into two wings, east and west, separated by a cut through which acts as the building’s public and private entrances. The smaller west wing will accommodate the public-facing amenities with a café/servery at ground level, and a council chamber on the first floor, made distinct with three expressive vaulted roofs and capable of seating up to 90 people. The chamber has been designed as a multifunctional, flexible space that can be split into three smaller rooms. The larger east wing will accommodate the staff offices, meeting rooms, and political party rooms. The open plan office space at the first floor is designed to Cambridgeshire’s brief of accommodating fixed and flexible workstations. Four generous rooflights bring natural daylight down to the first floor office staff amenity areas, and a covered balcony at the east end of the office floor provides a break-out area for staff with views out towards the new landscape.
A curtain walling system is proposed for the whole building, with a combination of solid and glazed panels depending on the aspect. Shading is provided through a combination of overhanging roof canopies and an independent timber fin system which will act as a vertical brise soleil. Whilst the deep canopy will shield against the higher summer sun, the vertical fins will provide shading against the lower winter light. These repeating fins help to create a vertical rhythm to the facade, and break up the long horizontal form of the building, allowing it to merge into the landscape and provide a civic presence.