Fitzwilliam College Chapel Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge Project info

Fitzwilliam College Chapel

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

The College commissioned a new campus of buildings in the 1960s, designed by Sir Denys Lasdun, and this has expanded over time. MJP have designed two additions for the College: New Court, providing student rooms, and the Chapel.

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 Design of the Chapel
The Chapel floats within a masonry drum, like a boat, above the crypt below. The ‘boat’ is built in oak, with a gently curving ‘hull’ and handrails around the ‘deck’. It is carried by white polished concrete columns. They extend on up to support a square canopy, like a baldacchino, over the Chapel.

Stairs rise from the crypt in the gap between the ‘hull’ and the drum. One on each side for the congregation, and another from the vestry for the Chaplain.

Flexible Seating Arrangement
There is seating for up to 130, either ‘in the round’ or in straight rows.

Natural Light
On the east side, a large window frames a view of the College gardens and a huge plane tree on the central axis of the Chapel.

The Chapel is bathed in light from the east window and rooflights around the perimeter. The light filters down the stairs to the crypt which contains the entrance area, meeting space and vestry.

Purpose-Built Organ
An organ was purpose designed and built for the Chapel and the pipes fill the west wall.

  • Client
    Fitzwilliam College Cambridge
  • Awards
    David Urwin Heritage Award – New Building, 1993
    Carpenters Award, 1993
    Civic Trust Award, 1992
    Concrete Society Award – highly commended, 1992
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