Historic England have announced that Robinson College has been listed at Grade II* by the Department of Digital Media, Culture and Sport.
The largest project ever undertaken by architects Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan for Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, Robinson was praised as a site of ‘very great architectural variety, inventiveness and interest’. Particular attention was drawn to the Chapel and Library, in which the building was considered to come closest ‘to an all-encompassing artwork’.
Constructed between 1977 and 1980, Robinson was Cambridge’s first purpose-built co-educational College. The College was recognised by the RIBA with their Eastern Award in 1983. Its new-found status as a listed building recognises its architectural value as a progression of nearly eight centuries of college construction within the University of Cambridge.
In their recommendations to Historic England, the Twentieth Century Society concluded that “Robinson College is a unique and exceptional example of late college development in Cambridge … It provides a precious glimpse of an architectural idiom in transition between the stark mid-century modernism of Churchill College or Murray Edwards College and a burgeoning postmodernism.”
The Warden, Sir Richard Heaton, welcomed the announcement, saying: “This news is a significant milestone for Robinson College and for Cambridge University. Since Queen Elizabeth II opened the College in 1981, some 5,000 students have lived and studied here. They have enjoyed a modern, open and welcoming building, set in beautiful gardens that have grown and matured with the College. We are immensely proud that the Listing recognises the particular contribution that our red brick College makes to Cambridge's architectural and cultural heritage. I am especially pleased that the report draws attention to the exceptional architectural quality of our Chapel and our Library.
Robinson has earned its status as an exceptional and distinctive College in the Cambridge tradition. The Listing of our building is a celebration of that."