A New Wayfinding Strategy for the University of Cambridge

West Cambridge site at present
Working with masterplanners on large-scale sites can be really rewarding. We get to provide strategic input into how sites should come forward to create places that really work for their users.

Share This Post

The University of Cambridge has been steadily developing its science and technology campus west of the city since they acquired it in the 1960s to address the limitations that the historic city centre buildings presented for expansion.

We’ve been appointed at the outset of a project for the West Cambridge site to provide a wayfinding strategy that will form part of the backbone of a new masterplan.

West Cambridge masterplan – vision for what it will look like when fully built out

Guy Warren, Placemarque’s Design Director, said:

“When we’re able to get involved right at the start of a project, we can have a real influence on how a masterplan is developed for a site.

“The latest masterplanning work at the West Cambridge campus will undoubtedly enhance the experience of students and staff, bringing coherence to the built form and establishing its own sense of place – quite different from the historic colleges that Cambridge is known for.”

Before any design work is carried out, our initial brief is to establish a comprehensive and coherent naming system for all the uses on site – a combination of various schools, faculties and departments. In our experience, with organisations of this scale you soon discover that one person’s science department is another person’s research lab!

As always, our approach is to be user-centric, so we’re focusing on devising a logical and user-friendly naming system for the buildings and uses on site. With the university’s added focus on creating welcoming, flexible uses or “zones” across the campus, we know it’s important to get the naming hierarchy for this complex mix of uses right at the outset. That way the sense of arrival and place here will match the world-renowned science and research facilities it accommodates.

These early stages of a project often go on behind the scenes unnoticed, but they are key to the success of a place. Once a naming system is agreed, design work can commence!

+ More Articles