Restoration presenter Griff Rhys Jones and Cambridge MP Anne Campbell condemned the closure at a rally attended by around 2,000 students. Architects Lord Foster and Lord Rogers have also voiced opposition to the propsoal.
Student union president Wes Streeting told Planning he is confident that popular feeling will save the department. But the university authorities said weaknesses in research standards mean that it should close.
Academic secretary Graham Allen stressed that no decision has been made.
The school of arts and humanities is preparing for a meeting with the university board next week to discuss the department's future, he added.