Raised Faculty Building
(Modern Languages, English and Moral Sciences)
Sidgwick Avenue
University of Cambridge
Cambridge CB3 9DA
United Kingdom

Casson, Condor & Partners 1961 (Sir Hugh Casson)

The raised faculty building, in the form of a three-side court for Modern Languages, English and Moral Sciences, is one stage of a more comprehensive plan for which Casson-Condor were overall responsible.

'The sequence of cloister and pathway, solid and void, grass and paving, has been thought out with all the co-ordinating care that the Festival of Britain [also by Sir Hugh Casson] received. Many of the detailed touches are extremely well done... but all these elegant details are only "visual aids" to an overall picture of academic life which does not carry conviction... The Raised Faculty Building, with its extraordinarily arbitrary and illogical fenestration - particularly painful in libraries, which demand even lighting - was intended as a great collegiate courtyard where, in Sir Hugh's beautiful drawings of 1952, spikily gowned students could be seen wistfully dreaming together under the arcades. In fact, there is usually a half-gale blowing through these menacing black piers and few people hang around to enjoy the bracing atmosphere.'

'The Raised Faculty Building (1959-61) has a cloister of concrete pilotis, in which are three staircase halls, rising to... libraries... and seminar rooms... In the main libraries, all three floors are unified, with central open wells, and lit by four different varieties of window; the largest of these are two stories high, with tripartite division by mullions. The top floor has a continuous clerestory window... The structure consists of reinforced concrete piers at ground level, supporting a first-floor slab of shot-blasted concrete in a black basalt aggregate. This in turn supports two rows of internal concrete columns, which support the aluminum-clad steel-trussed roof... The reinforced concrete floors are also supported by the external walls of loadbearing Portland stone.'

Nicholas Taylor and Philip Booth in Cambridge New Architecture, 1970

Simon Glynn 2001


How to visit

The outside of the site is easily accessible, and is within walking distance of most of Cambridge's university buildings. The raised faculty building is adjacent to the history faculty building by Stirling and the law faculty building by Foster.

Books and other web sites


The building now houses the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. The faculty's web site is at www.mml.cam.ac.uk.

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