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John McAslan + Partners completes music studios for the University of Oxford

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The part-new build, part-retrofit project creates a suite of new rehearsal rooms for New College students

John McAslan + Partners has completed the Clore Music Rooms for New College, University of Oxford, to provide study, practice and performance spaces.

Linked to the existing Savile House with a glazed entrance and circulation space, the building is clad in Portland stone to bring awareness to the site’s 17th-century ramparts nearby.

The new-build part of the scheme is organised as a three-storey solid stone box, the height designed to align with the eaves of Savile House, complementing the scale of surrounding buildings.

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The ground floor is partially sunk to accommodate a double-height rehearsal space which has a glazed, visual connection to the street, maximising space and natural daylight. The upper floors include two medium-sized studios for the rehearsal of chamber music along with several practice rooms for solo or duo rehearsal.

The Portland stone, bronze-anodised aluminium metalwork and oak acoustic wall linings constitute a palette of high-quality and durable materials used throughout the scheme. 

Given the scheme’s location within Oxford’s Central Conservation Area, the architect worked closely with Oxford City Council’s local planning and conservation officers and an archaeologist. 

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Architect’s view

Our intention was to impart a sense of delight – creating a series of light-filled rehearsal spaces for the University of Oxford’s extraordinarily talented music students. Our building is both sympathetic to its historic context and yet undeniably contemporary.

John McAslan, executive chairman, John McAslan + Partners

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Client’s view

The Clore Music Studios are already playing a transformative role in the musical life of New College. They offer all the college’s junior members – for the first time – the gift of dedicated space for both individual and group practice. The David Mann and Anne Kriken Mann Rehearsal Studio has already hosted the college’s current bagpiping undergraduate, who has thoroughly tested the building’s soundproofing! The spaces are light, elegant and a joy to work in.

Michael Burden, professor of opera studies and fellow in music, New College, University of Oxford

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Ground floor plan

Project data 

Start on site February 2016
Completion December 2018
Gross internal floor area 508m² (232m² new build)
Gross (internal + external) floor area 651m²
Form of contract or procurement route Management Building Contract
Construction cost Confidential
Architect and landscape architect John McAslan + Partners
Client New College, Oxford
Structural engineer Renaissance
M&E consultant Hoare Lee
QS Austin Newport Group
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown Associates
CDM coordinator Baynham Meikle
Approved building inspector Meridian Consult
Main contractor Austin Newport Group
Planning consultant Barton Wilmore
Archaeologist Oxford Archaeology
CAD software used MicroStation

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