The recently finished Exeter College cafe has been a complete success for Grainge Architects as well as for the students, staff and visitors that now use this facility.
The "CCI" Building - Exeter College's highly successful Centre for Creative Industries (visual arts, media and performing arts) suffered from a lack of general social gathering facilities and refreshments that help to create leisurely interaction, which is an important element in the creative process.
Initial studies were carried out into the feasibility of amending the existing internal space to accommodate this, but as all rooms and spaces were fully and valuably used, so this was not possible.
Meanwhile, the existing external space formed between the CCI building and the Victoria Yard Studios building was badly defined, it lead no-where and was lacking in focus or purpose.
These two factors together lead to the proposal to provide a new cafe building within this area. The design concept is almost 'anti-building' in that the principal built space - the cafe itself - is part of the free-flowing internal / external space, separated by minimally-framed glazed walls with canopies rising to approximately 11/2 storeys in height.