Building Fitzwilliam College 1963-2013 : An Architectural Journey

In 1963 the Fellows and students of Fitzwilliam moved into new buildings designed by Denys Lasdun. Fitzwilliam College celebrates 50 years on the site with a symposium and an exhibition of photographs, plans and models showing the ways in which Lasdun’s vision has been interpreted and transformed through successive buildings and landscape design.

Link to Details of Symposium and Exhibition

MJP were originally appointed to devise a masterplan for future expansion. The new strategy was to return the open spiral of Lasdun’s plan to a more traditional and geometric college courtyard linking college functions such as library, chapel and auditorium.

MJP’s chapel for Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, is masterly in its planning and in
its relationship to the other buildings and landscaping on the site.

Peter Blundell Jones

The New Court Residences were the first phase of this Masterplan, and provide accommodation for students and resident Fellows. The formal façade is strongly influenced by Sir John Soane’s Museum at Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the horizontal bands echo the layering of the Lasdun Buildings.

MJP were also commissioned to design the Fitzwilliam Chapel. White concrete, oak and white render predominate in the chapel’s circular interior. The concrete is finished in various ways, with a rough texture like rusticated stone at the lower level and, above, slender, highly-polished columns rising to support polished beams.

Six architectural practices have been involved in building Fitzwilliam over the last 50 years: Denys Lasdun and Partners; David Roberts; MJP Architects; van Heyningen and Haward; Allies and Morrison, and Edward Cullinan Architects.

The exhibition, in the crypt of the MJP designed chapel, runs from 26 June to 11 October.