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Stage set for ‘sensitive renovation’ of Stirling’s Oxford Florey

The Queen’s College Oxford is planning an international search to restore the ‘history and spirit’ of  James Stirling’s Grade II-listed Florey Building

The historic University of Oxford college has commissioned competition organizer Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) to complete a feasibility study of the critically acclaimed 1971 student accommodation block.

MRC’s analysis of the notoriously leaky, U-shaped building will create a design brief which will be used to select an architect for its renovation.

An international competition is expected to be announced later this year.

In June, the AJ revealed Richard Rogers and Olympic procurement chief Ricky Burdett had advised Queen’s on launching a design contest for the terracotta-clad student residences’ overhaul.

In a statement today, the college’s home bursar Linda Irving-Bell said: ‘The Queen’s College values the Florey Building and is proud to have commissioned such an influential modern building.

‘We’re enthusiastic about its future and recognise that a well thought-out renovation, sensitive to its history and spirit, will extend the life of the building through this century.’

Malcolm Reading said: ‘The Florey Building is such a charismatic building. I don’t think there’s a student who’s lived here, who hasn’t formed a lively opinion about it, or its designer.

He added: ‘There is a well-established process for looking at buildings of significant heritage. Our team will review all aspects of the performance of the building and landscape in order to understand the most effective ways to raise standards and fully exploit the wonderful features of the original design.’

MRC will present its findings to the college’s governing body this summer and select a design team in early 2014. Site work is planned to start in summer 2015.

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