Cripps Building Cambridge

Philip Powell & Hidalgo Moya


  • Dick van Gameren TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


In the first half of the 1950s, editor J.M. Richards voiced biting criticism in the Architectural Review of new-built projects for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The buildings made no contribution to the art of architecture whatsoever and merely reflected the artistic emptiness and small-mindedness of academic taste. In the late 1950s, the tide turned. Up until the 1970s, several projects were implemented in both cities, which interpreted and breathed new life into the traditional building forms and application of materials in the two cities, sometimes in a brilliant fashion. Included in the best work from this period are the extensions to a number of colleges from designs by Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya.

After realizing a number of projects in Oxford, they were commissioned in 1962 to design a large extension of St John’s College in Cambridge. Alvar Aalto, who was initially approached, turned out to be insufficiently interested. The project was financed by an alumnus of St John’s, wealthy industrialist Humphrey Cripps. In return for his generous donation, he yearned for a building that would last for at least 500 years. The new-build, located behind the existing buildings of St John’s, had to contain 200 rooms for undergraduates and 8 apartments for fellows.

Author Biography

Dick van Gameren, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Dick van Gameren is dean and full professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of Delft University of Technology, and partner at Mecanoo architecten in Delft, the Netherlands. Combining his work as an architect with a professorship, Van Gameren maintains a critical approach to design by lecturing, researching and publishing. In 2007, Van Gameren won the prestigious Aga Kahn Award for the design of the Dutch Embassy in Ethiopia. In 2008, Van Gameren founded the book series DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) and is since then editor in chief. At TU Delft. He leads the Global Housing Study Centre and is also board member of the Archiprix foundation, of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre in Rotterdam and of the Amsterdam based AMS Institute. He is also a member of the TU Delft Global Initiative Steering Committee.






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