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Department of Architecture


Witherford Watson Mann Architects has completed a transformative addition to one of Cambridge University’s oldest colleges: the River Wing is the first significant new construction at Grade I-listed Clare College Old Court since the 1780s.

The oak-framed structure was manufactured offsite and carefully assembled in the narrow site between two walls of the building; the techniques combine the modern and ancient, CNC and handcraft. The design was in part a response to the extremely constrained nature of the site – the architects liken building here to making a ship in a bottle.

The project, which includes a riverfront café and new social and circulation spaces, also addresses longstanding issues of access and escape: access to the Great Hall has been improved and the Senior Combination Room has been made accessible to all for the first time.


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Read a review of the New River Wing in the Guardian: New River Wing, Clare College, Cambridge review – a perfect fit | Architecture | The Guardian