The University Centre - complete redesign

The University of Cambridge was voted the worlds leading University in 2010 and The University Centre is the social heart of the Universities graduate scene.


Built in 1967, the University Centre is a fine example of brutalist architecture and comprises of 8 meeting rooms, 5 restaurants and bars, the Gates Foundation Common Room and Blue Fitness exercise suite.

Nicholas Hawksworth Wayfinding Consultants were appointed by the Facilities Manager at the University of Cambridge to devise a way to redefine how the Centre communicated to, and was used by University members and visitors.

A confusing building

“The building is amazing to look at, but very confusing to use. For example, the existing room names were tortuous, having 1R1, 1R2 and 1R3 on the first floor, and 2R1, 2R2, 2R3 on the second floor and so-on, was a bit of a tongue and head-twister”.

The building also had layers of outdated designs, signs and information which needed stripping back.

A wide range of projects

Following detailed discussions and research into staff and users interpretations of the buildings, the following projects were defined, developed and delivered.

  • Renaming the rooms after Nobel Prize winners from Cambridge University. (Names were chosen with different phonetic sounds to help differentiate. The Nobel winners, and Nobel Foundation were contacted for approval.)
  • Developing a new identity for the building, stationery, leaflets, menus and Centre promotions.
  • Designing a new digital and printed brochure presenting ‘rooms for hire’ at the University and University Centre.
  • Developing a brand identity and literature for the Universities new cutting edge fitness suite.
  • Developing a suite of logos and design styles for the Bars and Restaurants at the Centre.
  • Developing a complete external and internal wayfinding and sign strategy for the Centre, helping visitors navigate, and understand the variety of services on offer.
  • Redefining, and programming a new University and University Catering web site.
  • Sign design concepts for the Hauser Forum, and West Café.


These projects were guided by the Universities FM team and Centre staff to great success, and have provided the University Centre with a consistent, cross platform theme which aids and enhances the understanding of the University Centre, and its offers.

Work continues to date, with provision of a wayfinding scheme for the Senate House, the heart of academia at the University of Cambridge.

Want to discuss this project?

Get in touch with us – use the contact page or give us a ring on 01223 693 082.

Read other case studies

Back to Top