Buildings and Environment

The buildings at King's are not only recognised around the world, but also provide an environment in which students can learn, live and engage with the opportunities presented by the College and the broader University.

Although many of our buildings still serve their original purposes, College life is ever-changing and we need new spaces for today’s students and Fellows. Our buildings need to be constantly restored, expanded, and adapted so that they are fit for modern teaching and living.

The College has identified several key capital projects as part of a broader, strategic fundraising campaign. Our priorities are to:

  • Protect and preserve our historic buildings.
  • Improve our student and teaching accommodation, in line with the world’s premier universities.
  • Design buildings and facilities which can support themselves by attracting commercial revenue.

Chetwynd Court

At the forefront of these projects is our aspiration to completely transform Chetwynd Court. The north and east ranges of Chetwynd Court currently present a hodgepodge of poorly designed and tired function rooms, the result of incremental changes over the last 100 years. Above them are many students’ and Fellows’ rooms, which are also in need of updating.

Our desire is to rebuild much of the structure around Chetwynd Court, and to close in the open area with a glazed roof. Recently developed designs include a new lecture and performance theatre, two multi-purpose seminar and event rooms, new music rooms, renovation of the bar, coffee shop, courtyard, and kitchen storage areas, and exterior cleaning and repair.

The elements of this project include:

  • Rebuilding the John Maynard Keynes Hall, from its current 1960s brutalist concrete incarnation into a much larger lecture and performance auditorium which provides an inspirational space for hosting seminars, lectures and national and international conferences.
  • Establish a range of intelligently placed services and supporting rooms, which increase the functionality of the available space, and improves the College’s ability to provide high-quality teaching and conference facilities.
  • Re-orient the student common room and bar, giving students a private and modern space in which to relax, socialise, and entertain friends.
  • Create a new multi-function room for teaching, performance and conference use. The proximity to the Front Court and the Great Hall for dining make this space especially valuable and useful.
  • Placing a glazed roof over the open courtyard, enclosing the space and making it an all-weather meeting place for student and conference use.

Gibbs’ Building

After the Chapel, Gibbs' is the second oldest building in College. When masons stopped working in 1461 they left a large block of stone in the Front Court. This stone was laid as the foundation stone for the Gibbs' building in 1724.

The Gibbs’ building, named after its architect James Gibbs, is constructed of white portland stone. It was the only part to be built of a large scheme that Gibbs designed, which was planned to include similar buildings on the south and east side of the front court.

Among Gibbs’ famous residents was the poet Rupert Brooke, who lived for two years in the rooms on the bottom left of the building (‘E’ staircase). It now houses a large number of Fellows' rooms, the Tutorial Office and the Turing Room (student computer room).

After undergoing a thorough clean over recent years, the Gibbs' Building is now in the middle of significant restoration work to its exterior stonework. Although the exterior is largely in good repair, the interior staircases and basement areas have long been in need of renovation. The proposed plans for refurbishment would also improve the building's thermal performance and re-establish the subterranean passageways, without disturbing any of its historic fabric.

For a list of all restoration and renovation works we hope to undertake, see below. If you would be interested in discussing funding for these projects, please contact the Director of Development, Lorraine Headen.

Place Estimated Funds Required
Graduate Student Accommodation £31 million
Chetwynd Court / Keynes Hall £20 million
Gibbs' Building Renovation £12 million
Chapel Conservation and Endowment £8.5 million
Porters' Lodge Renovation £1 million (completed)
Boat House £1 million (completed)