Christ's College Masterplan

Christ's College Masterplan


Christ's College, Cambridge


Cambridge, UK

A future strategy for Christ’s College

MICA set out a long-term strategy for the Domus site identifying future potential projects and changes over the next 25 years together with short-term development opportunities that address current priorities and needs.

Our study covers three primary objectives of the strategic mapping and planning exercise, namely: improving the use of space, a route to carbon reduction goals and improvement of access across the Domus site.

Twenty interventions together with holistic energy strategies improve space and facilitate access. Our aim is to augment an extraordinary historic built environment and bucolic landscape setting with changes that are discrete and complementary to the character of Christ’s. Internally, the same sensitive approach has been taken with the added objective of peeling away 20th century additions to reveal original features and historic arrangements.

Aerial proposal of the site
Highlighted aerial proposal of the site
1 / 2 Aerial proposal of the site


The strategy for the College has been borne out of extensive consultation and engagement. The team met with around 400 members of the College including Fellows, students, staff and alumni; conducted three college-wide workshops; held three staff and Fellows focussed workshops; presented three times to Governing Body; held around 30 in-person meetings; through the open suggestion box and online survey we received over 150 anonymous suggestions throughout the process. Findings were summarised, reported and informed the outline emerging strategy, which was presented to the Governing Body and was then developed into a detailed document with further consultation, the outcome of which was presented later that year.

Consultation at the college
Workshop 1: space utilisation
Workshop 2: universal access
Consultation stages
1 / 4 Consultation at the college

Pathway to Net Zero

A comprehensive carbon reduction strategy has been drawn up to achieve 30% carbon reduction commitments by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2048 or sooner. The work has been carried out by MICA, Services engineer Andy Long, and Beyond Carbon with input from specialist engineers and suppliers. The strategy considers ways to reduce energy use across the estate with new renewable energy sources (ground source and air source heat pumps, photovoltaics) providing a balanced new strategy to replace the existing fossil fuel energy supply.

Working closely with the Estates Department we established the age and condition of the buildings and the energy used for heating and hot water along with the available electrical capacity and location of transformers. With this data we were quickly able to identify which buildings could have which elements upgraded or replaced and their effect on peak heating loads and the annual energy demand and savings. The college had already had a survey undertaken to indicating the available energy from ground arrays for heating. We were then able to establish which buildings could utilise which array, location of plant and how to decarbonise the heating. This will allow the college to programme which buildings to upgrade and provide alternative heating from heat pumps as they work towards achieving their zero carbon targets.

Sustainability - Pathway to Net Zero
Pathway to Net Zero - Decarbonisation
Pathway to Net Zero - Existing and Proposed
1 / 3 Sustainability - Pathway to Net Zero
Areas with potential for solar arrays within Christ’s College
Existing and proposed solar arrays
1 / 2 Areas with potential for solar arrays within Christ’s College
Access plan
Access plan

Universal Access

Primarily focussing on physical access improvements across the Domus site, the new strategy provides opportunities to transform step-free access across communal spaces such as Upper Hall, Library and the Old Combination Room together with accessibility to a number of residential staircases and upper floor teaching rooms.

Spatial Efficiency

Improvements are put forward that improve efficiency of space, provide new space including a new library and study constellation, consolidate uses and--above all--improve the quality and environment of a number of important existing spaces in College. Improving teaching, Fellows’ accommodation, support, and study provisions are balanced with improvements to social, communal and opportunities to improve wellbeing.

Spatial efficiency within the college
Spatial efficiency within the college
Blyth perspectives
Proposed Staircase C extension from 2nd Court
1 / 3 Blyth perspectives

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