Holiday Inn Express, Cambridge


Bounded by a railway, an elevated bypass road and a number of historic listed buildings, this development presented design challenges from the outset. The new Holiday Inn Express is adjacent to the oak framed Red Lion Pub and hotel, historically an important coaching inn dating back to the 13th Century which had become economically unviable and in much need of repair in recent years. To raise the necessary revenue to fund refurbishment and extension of the existing Inn, the owner embarked on a plan to develop a standalone hotel in the grounds.

The design of the building aims to reduce its scale and mass so that the building sits harmoniously within its surrounding context. The asymmetric approach reflects the nature of the existing buildings on site. The use of ‘mature’ materials such as timber and lead have a timeless quality which helps reduce the impact of this contemporary building within the site. The fenestration pattern deviates from the regular grid generated by the plan to reflect that of the existing Red Lion which is asymmetric and accretive.

Extending the precedent set by the architecture, the design concept for the interior was also influenced by the rich history of the site and the nearby Duxford Chapel, within walking distance of the hotel. This site has close links with the RAF at nearby Duxford, which played an important role in aviation history during both World Wars. Inspiration for the Public area design was drawn from both of these themes, reflecting the rich timber interiors of the Red Lion Hotel and using fabric and colours reflecting the Royal Air Force Uniforms. Artwork also reinforces the aviation theme including digital wallpaper showing blueprints of original war planes which would have flown from nearby Duxford Airfield.