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Balliol College, Oxford


The building lies along the edge of the college sports field in Jowett Walk. The sports field has the feeling of an oasis on the periphery of the historic city centre, and provides wide, open views which are an uncharacteristic Oxford prospect.

The objective of the design was to realise the college's immediate requirements while providing a strategy of sufficient flexibility to allow changes of brief in future phases.

The design consists of a series of linked pavilions which reflect the suburban residential character of the area, rather than the quadrangular forms of medieval Oxford. The pavilions, being discrete, make it easy to phase the development. Phase 1 consists of three pavilions at the west end of the site; up to six more will be added in the future.

Public rooms are on the lower ground floor, with a separate circulation system, and include a student theatre, seminar rooms, a laundry and the porter's lodge. Above are house-like pavilions with three storeys of residential accommodation connected by a system of bridges. Each pavilion has its own staircase, serving groups of seven study bedrooms on each floor which share a kitchen/dining room and each have en suite shower and wc.

The pavilion strategy balances the impact of the scheme in relation to the playing fields and to Jowett Walk. Houses and gardens front Jowett Walk and raised terraces define the boundary between the sports field and the building.

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