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Allies and Morrison wins delayed Oriel College contest

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Oxford’s Oriel College has finally chosen Allies and Morrison to overhaul social spaces and catering facilities in a wedge-shaped area between the college’s Grade I-listed hall and a medieval wall

The contest, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants and launched in June 2013, was put on hold late last year when the prestigious college decided to ‘review its wider masterplan’ after seeing all the shortlisted proposals.

All five finalists in the Reprogramming Oriel’s Social Spaces competition, including Amanda Levete’s firm AL_A, Caruso St John, Panter Hudspith and Wright & Wright, were subsequently asked to submit reworked schemes.

Malcolm Reading said: ‘We are so pleased the competition has reached a happy conclusion – not least because it elicited an unparalleled long-list of practices brimming with good ideas. The brief for the project is extremely challenging because of the constraints of the site, and sensitivity required in accommodating a complex set of objectives within a Grade I setting.’

‘All [the finalists] showed admirable dedication and seriousness in revisiting and reappraising their schemes for the final interviews.’

He added: ‘The jury acknowledged that all of the schemes were sensitive and inventive but after extensive discussion, Allies and Morrison’s scheme was declared the unanimous winner.

The scheme promises an extremely graceful architectural resolution

‘It set the bar for a new development at Oriel and the promise of an extremely graceful architectural resolution.’

According to the jury, Allies & Morrison had successfully ‘illustrated a re-working of the layered levels in its original concept, showing how spaces would be easier to access and operate, together with an elegant resolution of bulk and sightlines in the new roofscape.’ 

 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The Allies and Morrison scheme looks the best solution in terms of impact on the Grade 1 listed building, and a simple and elegant form. It also turns the awkward shape of the site into an asset. If it is beautifully executed, as I am sure it will be, it should be a very sensitive, contemporary addition to Oxford. Roger FitzGerald, ADP

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