The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size. Photo © Alistair Fair
Photo © Alistair Fair
Photo © Alistair Fair

100 Buildings 100 Years

1995: Judge Institute, Cambridge

Type: Education
Architect: John Outram
Location: Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1AG

The University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School occupies the old Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Mostly designed by Matthew Digby Wyatt in the 1860s, the building fell vacant in 1984 and was subsequently listed. In 1990, John Outram won the commission to refurbish and extend it. Outram added three new structures behind the retained 1860s buildings (with a new cornice and portico). The Ark contains academics’ offices, while the Castle houses lecture theatres and plant. The Gallery, a 79-feet tall space defined by giant columns and criss-crossed by stair bridges, links everything together.

Outram was critical of much recent university architecture, thinking that it hid the intellectual ambition of its users. His design is distinguished by a rich, allusive vocabulary which makes liberal references to architectural history and theory. Colour is a key feature, inspired by ancient Greek and Victorian precedent. This is Outram’s biggest work, and one of the best examples of postmodernism in Britain. It offers a playful contrast with the typical sobriety of business-school architecture.

by Alistair Fair

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