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  • Writer's pictureFaruk Kara

The Grafton Centre I (Space and Structure)

The Grafton Centre was built just before I moved to Cambridge in the 1980s. Completed in 1984 it was opened by the Queen. It has always been an odd addendum to Cambridge's shopping scene. While less than a mile from the town centre, I rarely visited. Internet shopping and COVID has done for it. It still has the multiscreen cinema and few large stores, but as a shopping centre it has died.

The plan is to redevelop the Grafton Centre into a mixture of business and retail. The cinema, restaurants and some of the larger stores at the main entrance will remain, the rest will become business space with a potential incubator space linked to Anglia Ruskin University across the road.

As part of a wider Cambridge Camera Club (CCC) documentary project, the club was given permission to photograph inside the Grafton Centre to capture the structure and look before it all changes. With about 10 photographers from the CCC showing up, we should have a comprehensive capture. Here are a few of mine looking at the overall style and structure of the building.

The modern glass structure at the main entrance of the Grafton Centre in Cambridge
The Main Entrance
The main entrance hall of the Grafton Centre in Cambridge. Shot in portrait to  give the full impression of the height.
Entrance Hall
The connecting section between the main entrance and back section of the Grafton Centre in Cambridge showing the how empty it has become.
Open Space and Lights
Photo taken from the first floor at the back of the Grafton Centre in Cambridge showing the size and space and how empty it is.
Light and Airey
photo showing the escalator looking down from the top using the handrail and stairway as leading lines into the space of the ground floor of the Grafton Centre in Cambridge
The escalator photographed from the side on the first floor. The photo is taken at a slow shutter speed to indicate movement showing the escalator users slightly blurred.
On The Move
Photo of the some of the visible metal architecture structures holding up the ceiling at the Grafton Centre in Cambridge
Architectual Structure
Elegant stairwell made mostly of glass. Six flights of stairs with each landing becoming a larger semi-circle as you descend


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