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Women's Institute, Cambridge

A converted pig farrowing shed into a sustainable and award-winning headquarters for the Women’s Institute.

The Women’s Institute had made a commitment to become carbon neutral when it commissioned us to create a new headquarters building in Cambridge. We therefore decided to retain an existing building - despite its previous use as a pig shed - to conserve its embodied energy. The building’s simple design uses local materials wherever possible in an efficient and imaginative way: the result is a flexible and easy-to-use building that embodies the ethos and values of the WI.

The building uses a passive cooling and ventilation system to minimise energy use. A pre-cast concrete roof and masonry walls provide thermal mass while louvred ventilation panels provide night-time cooling and daytime cross-ventilation. High performance insulation adds to the building’s thermal efficiency.

“EllisMiller immediately understood us, were great fun to work with, and were unafraid to question and encourage us. We could never have built a WI office in the same old way when the WI was stressing the importance of saving the planet and, thanks to EllisMiller, we didn’t. Thanks to them, we were really able to put our money where our mouths were.”
Ruth Bond, President, WI

“A little gem.”
Brian Avery, The Architect’s Journal

RIBA National Award 2005
RIBA Sustainability Award 2005
RIBA Regional Award 2005
RIBA Inclusivity Award 2005
Green Apple Sustainability Award 2005
Creative East Building of the Year 2007

Ellis Miller Achitects Women's Institute, Cambridge
Ellis Miller Achitects Women's Institute, Cambridge
Ellis Miller Achitects Women's Institute, Cambridge
Ellis Miller Achitects Women's Institute, Cambridge