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    Queen's Building, Emmanuel College Cambridge


    An elegant auditorium in harmony with its sensitive heritage setting

    Location:Cambridge, United KIngdom
    Size:1,200 m²
    Client:Emmanuel College
    Awards:RIBA Regional Award;
    Royal Fine Art Commission Trust: Building of the Year Award;
    RIBA Award: Architecture in Education;
    Carpenters' Award;
    Natural Stone Awards: Award (New Build).

    Designed for Cambridge’s Emmanuel College, the Queen’s Building provides three storeys of performance space for lectures and recitals within a distinctive oval form.

    Located at the rear of the College near the Master's Lodge, the building is enclosed by a colonnade and clad extensively in Ketton limestone, a reference to the nearby College chapel designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1673.

    The heart of the building is a double-height auditorium with steeply raked seating and a curving, apse-like end. Overlooked by a narrow upper gallery, the hall has a capacity of 120 and can be acoustically tuned for speech and music. Three subsidiary apsidal rooms offer single-storey reception and seminar space in the opposite end of the building.

    The building’s structure of piers and flat arches is infilled by windows and non-loadbearing, flatter stone panels, to give a flush, monolithic appearance. 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. The shallow-pitched roof is topped with lead. A large, first floor window signals the location of the entrance beneath.

    Inside the auditorium, the supporting roof structure of composite stainless steel and timber trusses is revealed. Ketton limestone is again visible as interior wall cladding, ensuring material continuity from outside to in. Similarly, there is extensive interior use of American oak, which is also used externally within the colonnade. All soffits, whether internal or external, are plastered and painted white.

    Engimatic yet inviting, the building is a seamless addition to its august surroundings.