Pembroke College Cambridge – Mill Lane Phase 1

Project Scope

Redevelopment of the Mill Lane Site to provide Phase 1 - New College Facilities and Phase 2 New Student Accommodation

Approximate Value

Phase 1 - Approx £10m | Phase 2 - Approx £30m


Pembroke College Cambridge

Completion Date

Phase 1 - July 2023 | Phase 2 Due Summer 2024

Founded in 1347, Pembroke is the third oldest College in Cambridge and the earliest to survive today on its original site with an unbroken constitution from its first foundation. The project is the most significant development for Pembroke since the fourteenth century and creates a new College court, new gardens and the restoration of a number of historic buildings facing the existing College. The expansion provides new and enhanced spaces for the full range of Collegiate activities, including residential, teaching, communal and administrative facilities, arranged around new gardens and courtyards. The development also provides new publicly accessible spaces including a new gatehouse, exhibition space and foyer, as well as a performance venue within the listed former Emmanuel United Reformed Church building (1874), which provides a flexible space for music, performance, lectures and events

Existing historically significant buildings have been comprehensively refurbished to accommodate new uses that enhance their architectural characteristics. New buildings are designed to sit comfortably within the existing urban edges while framing new open spaces in the centre of the site that open up views and connections to the existing buildings. All buildings have been designed or refurbished to support high environmental performance, enabling the entire site to be fossil-fuel free on completion of Phase 2. Retrofit works have included new insulation to walls, roofs and floors, the re-glazing of existing windows and the installation of new low-energy service systems. The buildings are designed for longevity and adaptability, using durable materials including lime-mortared brick, oak structure and joinery, as well as reclaimed brick from site demolitions.

The arrangement of new and existing buildings define a naturally occurring sequence of recognisable thresholds with diverse opportunities for chance encounter and conversation. The flexibility and versatility of the resources housed in and between these buildings will serve a range of activities that express Pembroke’s enduring commitment to world class research, teaching and the exchange of ideas across disciplinary and generational boundaries and with the wider world.

Phase One completed in July 2023, with Phase Two currently on site and due to complete in September 2024. Phase Two will deliver a new residential court, Dolby Court

Phase One Project Data

  • The most significant development for Pembroke College since the fourteenth century.
  • The Gatehouse on Trumpington Street marks the new gateway to the Mill Lane site as well as the entrance to new publicly accessible spaces of the foyer, auditorium and Exhibition room.
  • The Exhibition Room to the first floor of the Gatehouse will become a new public space for the college and wider city, providing space for the display of college treasures, work by Pembroke people, as well as collaborative exhibitions with the University and local artists.
  • The new auditorium created within the former Emmanuel United Reformed Church Building (constructed in 1874) will provide a flexible and technically equipped space for music, performance, lectures and events.
  • A new oak-framed foyer building connects the Gatehouse, Auditorium, and School House. In plan the building describes a subtle arc between the existing masonry structures of No.76 Trumpington Street, the former church and the former School House. The single storey building is carefully scaled to open up views from the new Chiu Court garden towards the side elevation of the auditorium.
  • The School House (which forms part of the foyer) is carefully constructed using reclaimed bricks from the original building to form a new two-storey social space accommodating a mezzanine study space, WC’s and bar.
  • New buildings within Phase One are constructed with an oak glulam timber frame.
  • At the heart of the site is the carefully refurbished Milstein House (formerly Stuart House, built 1926). This will become a key social hub for the expanded College, providing café spaces, an elegant reading room, a partnership centre, and student study and social spaces.
  • 4 Mill Lane (originally constructed in 1886 and 1893), provides a new set of flexible teaching, music and seminar spaces. The comprehensive refurbishment aimed to restore the historic features and proportions of the original spaces, whilst introducing enhancements to the environmental and acoustic performances of the building in support of the new teaching use.
  • All existing buildings have received new interventions to improve accessibility, including the insertion of new lifts and external landscaping to provide wheelchair access throughout.
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