Lantern roof refurbishment

Tuesday, 4 July, 2017 - 10:45
Lantern roof refurbishment

Over the next few years, the College is continuing with the refurbishment of its iconic Central Building.

These works will rationalise internal spaces to increase circulation, to refurbish the fabric of the building, and improve its environmental performance. We aim to return the Central Building to its rightful place at the heart of College life, and build on our financial sustainability through increased opportunities for College members and Events use. 

The first two phases of the work - completed in April 2014 - included a new two-storey stair and lift core, extension of the servery area to the first floor, and the refurbishment of the Old Library.

Phase 2A focuses on the Lantern roof, and involves:

  • Structural repair of the concrete, guaranteed for a 20-year period.
  • Roof upgrade, including retaining existing roof covering and laying insulation and membrane over top, and the installation of a man-safe fall arrest system, lightning protection and new ventilation units.

This preservation phase is potentially the most technically difficult, requiring a specialist scaffold across the main roof and protection to the Lantern glazing.

“Fitzwilliam’s Dining Hall was certainly a triumph. It was part of Sir Denys Lasdun's radically democratic vision for the College. The Lantern roof is also a singular expression of Lasdun's genius. Nowhere else did he invest in such an exuberant design flourish, although other elements - the board-marked concrete, expressed sills, and boxed out copper clad windows - can be seen in buildings like the National Theatre.

But time does not stand still: 50 years is a long time for concrete and for roofs. We are really grateful to Sir Timothy Sainsbury, The Headley Trust and alumnus Xiaoyang Xie (Engineering 2006) for their help, which has allowed us to move onto the next stage of this refurbishment,” said the Master, Mrs Nicola Padfield.

Given the nature of the repair works, the College will be experiencing some disruption, including noise pollution, limited parking and access. We will endeavour to communicate on a regular basis as best we can to keep all those directly affected by these works informed.

If you have any concerns, questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact:

Andy Milne (domestic.bursar[at],

Julian Eddy (maintenance.manager[at], or

any of the porters either in person, by phone on 01223 332000, or via email (head.porter[at]

The Porters’ Lodge is open 24 hours a day.

Artist’s impression of the Hall’s interior and new ceiling panelling following the completion of Phase 2

An information poster on the current building work at Fitzwilliam College can be found here >>