Masterplan, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

The Fitzwilliam Museum, described as "one of the greatest art collections of the nation and a monument of the first importance", was founded in 1816.   Since 1848 it has resided in majestic surroundings designed by George Basevi on Trumpington Street in Cambridge.  Over the years, various extensions have been added to the original building, some more successful than others.  The purpose of this competition was to find a masterplanner to bring a sense of order to the now rather haphazard site.


The winner of the competition was MUMA

The other four shortlisted practices were: AL_A
Herzog de Meuron
Stanton Williams
Wilkinson Eyre


This invited competition was formatted as a competitive interview.  No specific designs were requested.

Colander was asked to suggest a long-list of around 20 practices for consideration by the Museum and the University of Cambridge's Estates Department.  These practices were considered against a set of agreed criteria and five practices were shortlisted to submit a tender against a brief and attend an interview. 

Following interviews, references were taken and the winner was appointed.

Our involvement

On this competition, we worked in conjunction with the University's Estates Department, which provided much of the admin support for the competition process.  Our role primarily involved :

  • Helping to design the right competitive process
  • Researching and identifying potential competitors to invite
  • Helping the client reach its shortlist of invited competitors
  • Planning the competition timetable and budget to meet client requirements
  • Acting as point of contact for the competitors
  • Ensuring a clear and ethical process
  • Briefing the jury panel
  • Briefing competitors
  • Advising on and then helping to implement the scoring/evaluation procedures
  • Facilitating interviews and presentations
  • Debriefing and follow up