Red Building, Pembroke College, Cambridge University

Alfred Waterhouse

Waterhouse designed a number of buildings at Cambridge--and three for Pembroke College--the so-called Red Building, the Library (see below), and the Master's Lodge. Waterhouse is usually described as a Gothic Revivalist, a style that was often compatible with the medieval ambience of Cambridge; here, however, he borrows from the early French Renaissance vocabulary. Although many Gothic Revivalist liked symmetry, Waterhouse usually opts for the dramatic off-center tower. (See, however, his rigidly symmetrical Romanesque Revival Natural Science Museum in London.)

View of the south end, courtyard side

This building was designed for undergraduate rooms. At the south end, it is three stories while at the north end, where it joins Wren's Chapel, it is only two stories--to provide an easier connection. This red brick building has stone bands and, oddly, quoins of uneven and random lengths.
Waterhouse's dramatic style is seen in the polychromia facade--green slate roof, red brick, buff stone, and black trim paint--and in the decorative details: fretted balustrades, dormers and gables with finials, the stacked chimney caps, paired arched windows with hood molding terminating in foliate designs, oriels with corbeled bases (see street side), and the wedge-shaped tower roof with ridge cresting and finials.

Decorative lower story windows


The Trumpington Street side (with Wren's Chapel to the far north [left image])


Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge University

Alfred Waterhouse

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© 2003 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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