Keeping up appearances in a 19th century college

The challenge

We are extremely proud to have been involved in the redevelopment of Divinity School, Cambridge.  Built in 1879, the Neo-Tudor building was designed for St. John’s College by Basil Champneys, and is described as ‘an exceptionally high-quality building in a visible and high-profile location.

Following a competition to redesign and refurbish the Grade II-listed building, won by AMA Architects and project managed by the college’s own maintenance team, the sympathetic refurbishment was to include modern technological enhancements to return the building to its original use of teaching, learning and research.

Clients and partners

  • Client

    AMA (Annand and Mustoe Architects)

Key project requirements

  • The architectural significance of the building meant a considerate lighting solution was needed.
  • Traditional bulkhead methods of illumination needed to be avoided due to the historical importance of the stonework.

The solution

Supported through stanchions to open up the poorly-lit Victorian stairway (with the exception of the basement flight which was wall-mounted), our Garda LED handrail was specified.

The sections of 316 stainless steel were fully fabricated on-site to provide an exceptional quality of finish, including welding, alignment and the polish of the handrail to ensure a completely seamless (join-free) result from the top of the building, featuring the new main theatre, to the basement (a total of five flights).

Our award-winning illuminated handrail Garda bathes the stairwell in a welcoming warm white light (3000K), with asymmetric distribution to concentrate the light onto the stairs, where it is needed.

Highlighting the importance of thorough planning at survey stage, the bespoke nature of the century old building, with its uneven landings, resulted in the need to individually tailor the depth of each core-drilled hole, required for the stanchions, to ensure a level handrail. Finishing touches such as stainless steel base plates, covering the stanchion holes, ensured quality to the last detail.

From detailed survey to careful installation, our bespoke turnkey service has helped to transform the staircase.

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