Cambridge University’s youngest college has been granted Grade II* listed status and hailed as a “stunning city landmark”.
Robinson College, which was built between 1977 and 1980, was Cambridge’s first purpose-built co-educational college and the last college to be established at Cambridge University.
It has been listed at Grade II* by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.
Sir Richard Heaton, warden of Robinson College, said: “This news is a significant milestone for Robinson College and for Cambridge University.
“Since Queen Elizabeth II opened the College in 1981, some 5,000 students have lived and studied here.
“They have enjoyed a modern, open and welcoming building, set in beautiful gardens that have grown and matured with the College.
“We are immensely proud that the listing recognises the particular contribution that our red-brick College makes to Cambridge’s architectural and cultural heritage.
“I am especially pleased that the report draws attention to the superb architectural quality of our chapel and our library.
“Robinson has earned its status as an exceptional and distinctive College in the Cambridge tradition.
“The Listing of our building is a celebration of that.”
Matthew Cooper, Historic England senior listing advisor, said: “These beautifully designed buildings are an important example of post-war college design and a striking addition to eight centuries of college construction within the University of Cambridge.
“The artistic interiors of the chapel and the library are particularly remarkable.
“The College, with its distinctive red brick exteriors, is a stunning city landmark.”
Funding for the new college had been given by David Robinson (1904-1987), who made his wealth renting televisions and radios under the name Robinson Rentals, and from his major contribution to British horse racing.
He funded many philanthropic schemes, including the unprecedented donation of £18 million to fund the creation of Robinson College.
Ten architectural practices were invited to compete in a limited competition for the design of the college.
The winners were the Glasgow-based architectural practice of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia (GK&C).
They were the only practice whose scheme proposed to preserve most of the Edwardian gardens in the college’s chosen location on Grange Road in Cambridge.
The new college buildings – covered with approximately 1.4 million handmade bricks – were concentrated in megastructures that followed the boundary of the site, to incorporate the existing gardens.
The principal entrance to the college is through the ramped gatehouse that houses the porters’ lodge.
A number of courts lie between inhabited walls of raked accommodation and connect to the principal communal spaces, including the fine library, chapel and auditoria.
Some services which still survive, which would have been unusual as purpose-built facilities in a Cambridge college, include a music suite with dedicated record library and hi-fi room, and a photographers’ dark room.
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