Cambridge 2000: St Andrew's Street: John Lewis

Description: St Andrew's Street: John Lewis
Date built: 2005-2007
Architect: Colin Stansfield-Smith and John Pardy Architects; Chapman Taylor
St Andrew's Street: John Lewis (Colin Stansfield-Smith and John Pardy Architects, Chapman Taylor) map for St Andrew's Street: John Lewis
Date photograph taken: 08 Nov 2007 (Alternative map: Google map)

After a gap of three years, and a change of name (from Robert Sayle), John Lewis is back in the centre of Cambridge. This is the first store to open up in the Grand Arcade. It is three times the size of, and a short distance south of, their earlier store. The part shown in the photo stands on the spot of the former Norwich Union building.

The interior is exactly as to be expected, given that it is a John Lewis store. All the charm of the earlier store is missing, but that is something that only comes with age.

The building itself could be located in practically any city in practically any country, which is perhaps what most customers want. There are two main exterior entrances to the store, but neither of them stands out as a proper entrance. There is a larger entrance from inside the lobby of the main part of the Grand Arcade.

There is a lobby leading off one of the entrances (the one just visible at the left in the photograph) but it doesn't really make much sense in its location, and it seems it was designed there because of a requirement of preserving an adjoining listed building, rather than for any aesthetic reason.

And it was generally a difficult site, given the requirement to preserve the existing façade on St Andrew's Street at the right. The height at the front was determine by the requirement to match that façade. The back was allowed to be taller, hence the two height levels.

Colin Stansfield-Smith and John Pardy Architects were involved with an early design concept of the building and Chapman Taylor were the executive architects (they were also the architects for the rest of the Grand Arcade).

The rest of the Grand Arcade site opened up on 27 March 2008.

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