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Circus, Piazza and High Street

The developer will shortly be starting work on two new outdoor spaces for the public and staff. Planning permission for these spaces was granted in September 2015. The spaces, which will be linked, are currently known as:

1) Circus

2) Piazza

A third area of public open space called The High Street will sit east of Robinson Way and will act as a continuation of the Circus and Piazza – this will be delivered by Cambridge University Hospitals. However, the design team is the same for all three spaces so there is full technical and design coordination.

Circus and Piazza

These spaces will run east from Francis Crick Avenue to Robinson Way and will be edged by AstraZeneca and Papworth. Leading landscape consultancy Gillespies have designed a scheme that is a green, calm and soft landscape based on a ‘clearing’ concept with private ‘garden’ spaces. The landscape will include semi mature species.

1) The Circus:

  • approximately 100m in diameter; 7,000 sq m in area
  • will be like a large village green
  • open to everyone – staff and visitors
  • comprises planting, seating, pathways and 3 public art icons

2) The Piazza

  • will be a landscaped green space divided into ‘garden rooms’ with seating, pathways, tree planting and planting
  • this part of the site contains one of the four public art icons
  • width of 46.5m; 6,000 sq m

Cambridge Guided Bus

The bus will run through the spaces so it will take a quicker route around the campus. Close coordination took place with the County Council Bus Teams, County Council Highway Authority and Cambridge City Council officers to accommodate the bus route in a manner that respects the principal function of the space as an important area of public realm with pedestrian and cycle routes. The maximum bus speed is expected to be less than 20mph.


There is still work to be done in the detail and to finalise planting palettes and methods, but as a strategic masterplan the city council’s landscape team have provided full support to the proposals.


Public art has been embedded within the design of the spaces. Ryan Gander, a conceptual artist appointed at an early stage, developed the ‘Campground’ concept. These are tents in solid resin structures which will be managed and maintained by the developer.


The same archaeology team that undertook the site wide archaeology for CBC has been retained for these public spaces


The parameter plans allow for an amenity building to be sited on the Circus; this is an allowance rather than a requirement. The developer has undertaken viability and architectural assessments but at this juncture, delivery of an amenity building is not a viable prospect. However,  when surrounding plots are developed, and more people working and visiting CBC, further assessment of its viability will be undertaken. Meantime, current proposals have future proofed the Circus space by placing services underground that can be tapped into by a future amenity building.

CGI of the Circus

CGI of the Circus