The Queen's Building is a three-storey, freestanding oval. At its heart is a double-height auditorium with a curving end, and steeply raked seating for 120 individuals. A narrow gallery overlooks the performance space from the upper level, while three apsidal reception rooms occupy the building's opposite end. The ground floor is completely surrounded by a colonnade and a passageway cuts across it, off of which is the entrance to the upper floors.

The building's site was successfully created for the new performance space required by the College, at the rear of the College near the Master's Lodge. The external facade is composed of Ketton limestone, as used by Sir Christopher Wren for the nearby college chapel. It is a frame structure of piers and flat arches infilled by large windows and non-loadbearing stone panels. The piers are pre-stressed and post-tensioned by hidden steel rods making them structurally equivalent to the buttresses and pinnacles of a medieval church.

In the auditorium, the supporting roof structure of composite stainless steel and timber trusses is revealed. The same stone and timber are used on both the exterior and interior. All colours and textures are natural and integral.


  • Location Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Value £4.3 million
  • Size 1,200 m²
  • Client Emmanuel College
  • Year 1995

Selected Awards

  • Natural Stone Awards: Award (New Build)
  • Carpenters' Award
  • RIBA Regional Award
  • RIBA Award: Architecture in Education
  • Royal Fine Art Commission Trust: Building of the Year Award