Primary School, Cambridge

A new primary school to serve the urban extension in NW Cambridge, which is being developed by the University.


The competition was won by Marks Barfield Architects

The other five shortlisted teams were:
David Morley Architects
Walters & Cohen


This was a competitive interview advertised through the OJEU.

Cambridgeshire County Council appointed Turner Townsend to manage the competition on its behalf. 44 architects responded to the OJEU advert and submitted a response to the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ); five competitors were invited to submit a tender and attend interviews, following which a winner was selected.

Having been involved in the selection of architects for Phase 1 of NW Cambridge development, Colander was called in to assist with marking the PQQ submissions, selecting the shortlist for interview and shaping the interview format, subsequently sitting client-side to interview and assess competitors and help select the winner.

Our involvement

  • Marking the PQQ submissions on behalf of the client
  • Selecting the shortlist
  • Reviewing the tender documents
  • Developing the interview format and the challenges set to the shortlisted practices
  • Attending interviews and taking part in the assessment panel to select the winner
  • Debriefing and follow up

"Colander understands entirely the tasks involved and their strengths lie with clear, excellent market intelligence, good communication and effective management of complex, high profile competitions from inception to completion of appointment."

— Roger Taylor, Director of Estates, University of Cambridge


  • This competition was run under OJEU regulations.
  • The competition process needed to respond to the needs of two quite different client organisations: the University and the Council, and deliver a winner that met the requirements of each.
  • The school was expected to become a teaching school attached to the University and the design team needed to be capable of responding to this unique brief.
  • The University was looking to appoint high quality designers, capable of creating something pioneering and new, with whom they could develop innovative designs for a complex multifaceted brief.
  • The client organisations had a strong sustainability agenda, which was woven into the competition brief.
  • In recognition of its design quality, the completed project was awarded an RIBA East Award in 2017