Heong Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge

The courtyard adds a sense of repose

Credit: Ioana Marinescu

Caruso St John Architects for Downing College

Contract value: Confidential

GIA: 180m²

An area of Downing College has been transformed into the understated but elegant Heong Gallery with a well-detailed forecourt.  The building consists of a foyer and gallery, housed in a former maintenance building. The gallery has one central roof light orientated to the north east but treated symmetrically. One generous window frames the views onto the adjacent garden – otherwise the space is left for hanging pictures. Timber panelling and plaster is used while a floor of black encaustic tiles unites the rooms. The interior has the same domestic feel as Jim Ede’s Kettle’s Yard which the architect alludes to.

  • Credit: Ioana Marinescu
  • Credit: Ioana Marinescu
  • Credit: Ioana Marinescu
  • Credit: Ioana Marinescu
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This is reinforced by a well-placed fireplace, reclaimed from the original building, creating a domesticity which contrasts with some of the more magisterial buildings in the gallery’s proximity. The approach has been taken through to the external treatment and detailing of benches and cast aluminium rain canopy. The courtyard adds a sense of repose, making a small but important enhancement to Downing College.

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