Architects disappointed by new building

Alice Bloch 13 October 2007

Architecture students have arrived back in Cambridge to a brand new £1.3 million studio – only to describe it as being “like a 1980’s newspaper office…or the set of Working Girl”, according to anonymous comments passed on to The Cambridge Student.

Returning third year finalists were confused to discover that there were six desks too few for them due to an increased number of first year students, meaning that they also lacked sloped drawing boards – an essential piece of architecture students’ kit.

The finalists, forced to experience an introduction into the world of “hot-desking”, have been assured by the department that this will soon be rectified. Despite the subject’s reputation for long-hours and daunting deadlines, it is now “set in marble” that students can only enter the studio between 8am and 10pm.

And while the majority of students are concerned about the cramped working space, many accept that there are good and bad things about the new building and that, ultimately, it is too late for changes to be made.

But the University’s head of Architecture, Professor Marcial Echenique, believes that the new building is anything but “cheap”.

“It is on budget and on time,” Professor Echenique commented.

“For the first time, practically everyone has a desk. There is proper lighting, ventilation and a new workshop. The safety officer was absolutely horrified by the old studio. This is new and wonderful.”

In fact, Professor Echenique was shocked to hear that students are less than impressed with their new workspace.”Nobody has told me. They are complaining for the sake of complaining. In fact, an enormous number of people have been coming to say thank you,” he insisted.

Alice Bloch