A Cambridge College is launching the latest addition to its extensive range of facilities, enhancing its position as a centre for academic excellence and one of the city’s leading venues for residential conferences, meetings and events.
Churchill College is celebrating the imminent completion of Cowan Court which will provide 68 hotel-standard double ensuite bedrooms, in addition to a new multi-purpose meeting space named the Sixties Room, after a group of early students at the College.
Following the official opening in September, Churchill College will have a total of 200 ensuite bedrooms available for conference clients during vacations, in addition to 250 standard bedrooms. The accommodation complements its existing Dining Hall to seat 400 and purpose-built Lecture Theatre for 300.
Jennifer Brook, Bursar at Churchill said: “We have hosted conferences here since we opened in the 1960s and the commercial revenue has enabled us to fulfil a key part of our education mission and provide financial support to our students. This latest addition to our facilities underpins our drive for academic excellence, enabling us to continue to attract the finest students, as well as offer our conference clients the highest standards of accommodation.”
Cowan Court is named in honour of the Benefactor Fellow Michael Cowan, an alumnus of the College.
The new building is Danish in style, with pale decoration, bespoke furniture, a tree-filled courtyard and large outward-facing windows in all rooms. It is also in keeping with the College’s environmental and sustainability strategy. Green credentials include a highly-insulated building ‘envelope’, comprising a renewable timber-framed building clad with reclaimed oak; photo-voltaic cells on the roof to provide more electricity than the building will consume; and natural ventilation with opening panels to either side of the special solar glass in the triple-glazed windows. Rainwater will be collected to irrigate the trees inside the courtyard, which provide shading for the corridors running around each floor.

Cowan Court also includes three fully accessible bedrooms for disabled visitors and residents.

Conference and meeting facilities at Churchill College include a purpose-built Lecture Theatre seating 300, a Dining Hall for 400 and a range of smaller meeting and break-out rooms, all set in more than 40 acres of parkland and playing fields.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the site, together with state-of-the-art AV provision, supported by trained staff. There is also the ‘Churchill – Founder and Foundation’ permanent exhibition, sports facilities including a gym, a sculpture walk and a notable modern art collection. Churchill offers on-site parking, is located only half a mile from the historic centre, 1.5 miles from the M11 and within easy reach of the Railway Station and London Stansted Airport.

The original architecture of Churchill College, designed by Richard Sheppard, was described by architectural historian, Nikolaus Pevsner in 1958 as “the best of the new”.

Cowan Court is different from – but has a strong empathy with – the existing Sheppard-designed courts. Each floor, with its gently curving façade, slightly overhangs the one beneath, and the timber cladding is already weathered to a colour remarkably similar to the bricks of the current courts.
Celebrating new facilities at Churchill, left to right: Carol Robinson, Conference Manager; Professor Dame Athene Donald, Master; Jennifer Brook, Bursar; and Shelley Surtees, Domestic Bursar.

Celebrating new facilities at Churchill, left to right: Carol Robinson, Conference Manager; Professor Dame Athene Donald, Master; Jennifer Brook, Bursar; and Shelley Surtees, Domestic Bursar.