Among other buildings to be illuminated during this year’s e-luminate festival, the Judge Business School was particularly striking (although not as striking as the University Library, which was lit up in a sort of spectral blue).
The building in which the Judge Business School is housed, just opposite the Fitzwilliam Museum, used to be part of Addenbrooke’s Hospital (the small annex to the right of it, now Brown’s Restaurant, was once the VD clinic, if persistent rumours are to be believed, although I have also heard tell that it was the tropical diseases ward). Addenbrooke’s was established on the site in 1766, and remained there until it moved to its purpose-built campus in 1976.
The old Addenbrooke’s building was redesigned by architect John Outram in the 1970s, by which time he had developed a reputation for a polychromatic facade’s and semi-visible structural features (known, none-too-affectionately, as the robotic order of architecture). And the facade is indeed polychromatic in a rather 1990s way. Perhaps that is why it responded so positively to garish illumination.
I don’t know if it is appropriate or not that the Business School (one of the foremost in the world, if you pick and choose your league tables – 3rd on the Forbes List) should be a relic of a hospital retouched like a cadaver in the Brave New World of the post-Cold-War – slightly sinister, slightly dated, cheery looking, just a little bit deranged: a sort of classicising neo-Babylonian, let’s say. Anyway, there it stands.