A contemporary new space for the Cambridge Union Society and ‘Home of the Footlights’
Cambridge Union Society
The Cambridge Union Society is the oldest debating society in the world and is housed within an historic debating chamber in the heart of the city. Located in a Grade II Listed building, the space holds 400 people and required comprehensive refurbishment.
A complex scheme, the project underwent several different iterations before we were instructed by the client. Following a successful planning application, bb+c delivered a design that was a fusion of contemporary and traditional building work.
As part of the project, we created a brand new 150-cover restaurant space to be used as an entertaining space and which is also a great revenue stream for the Society. The client also requested a new VIP entrance area and a modern refurbishment of the debating chamber.
The building is located on a site of archaeological importance, which we carefully navigated throughout the project. The basement of the site was home to the famous Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club, with many notable alumni including Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson.