Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge

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University of Cambridge Department of Architecture
Established 1912
Academic staff
Undergraduates 121
Postgraduates 145
Location Cambridge, UK
Website CDRS

The Department of Architecture is part of the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art in the University of Cambridge. Both Departments are housed in Scroope Terrace on Trumpington Street and they share a library. The Faculty celebrated its Centenary in 2012. The University of Cambridge is one of the world's leading Universities and the Architecture Department is consistently rated in the top three in national surveys.

The school has a strong research reputation in both history/theory and in scientific research, particularly into modelling and sustainable design.


The Department of Architecture was established in 1912 after the Slade Professor, the distinguished Arts and Crafts architect and scholar Edward Schroder Prior, persuaded the University to establish a Board of Architectural Studies. In the 1950s the University established a committee to review the teaching of architecture at Cambridge, and it was this committee that persuaded the University to expand the subject. As a result, Leslie Martin was appointed as the first Professor of Architecture and the University increased the resources available to the Faculty.


Scroope Terrace, a listed Victorian terrace, was built in two stages; numbers 1 to 7 were built in 1839 and numbers 8 to 12 in 1864 in a style uniform with that of the 1839 building. Despite alterations, much of the original building remains as it was and in the Library you can still see original plaster cornices with neo-Greek ornament. The School of Architecture moved to 1 to 3 Scroope Terrace in 1924 and expanded in the 1950s and 1960s to take over numbers 4 and 5 as well.

In 1958-9 an extension was constructed behind 1 Scroope Terrace to provide more space for the expanding Faculty. The extension was designed by the then First Year Master, and later Professor, Colin St John Wilson and another member of staff, Alex Hardy, an environmental scientist, who was responsible for overseeing certain technical aspects of the work. The building was designed in line with the principles of Le Corbusier’s Modulor system and was opened by Le Corbusier himself, along with the sculptor Henry Moore, after they both received their honorary degrees in June 1959. In the words of critic Reyner Banham it was a ‘manifesto building’ and ‘one of the most eclectic designs ever to be packed into an anonymous-looking brick box’.[1]

Until 2000 the Faculty garden contained a geodesic dome of the type devised by Buckminster Fuller. This dome was erected in 1964 in order to accommodate an artificial sky for predicting natural lighting conditions in buildings. [2]

The buildings underwent a major renovation completed in 2008 with Freeland Rees Roberts refurbishing the existing buildings and Mole Architects adding a new building for studios and a workshop on the back.[3] This enabled the Martin Centre to move from its former home in Chaucer Road back into the main building, bringing research and undergraduate teaching under one roof for the first time in decades.


Architecture courses

  • BA Architecture (RIBA Part I)
  • Masters in Architecture and Urban Design (RIBA Part II)
  • Professional Practice (RIBA Part III)

Research degrees

  • MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies
  • MPhil in Architecture by Research
  • MPhil in History of Art and Architecture
  • MSt in Building History
  • MSt in Interdisciplinary Design in the Built Environment (IDBE) - offered jointly with the Department of Engineering
  • PhD in Architecture


The Martin Centre is the research arm of the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge. The Centre was founded by Professor Sir Leslie Martin in 1967 as the Centre for Land Use and Built Form Studies, and formally became The Martin Centre in 1974.[4] The Martin Centre currently employs over 70 researchers within the following research groups; Cities and Transport, Sustainable Building, Digital Studio, History and Theory, Risk and Conflict in Cities.

Notable alumni and staff

The Department has attracted numerous guest lecturers including Louis Kahn, Zaha Hadid, Kenneth Frampton, Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier.

Distinguished alumni

Current and former staff


External links