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Shortlist revealed in £10m St Hilda’s Oxford contest

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DRDH Architects, 6a Architects and Gort Scott are among those hoping to overhaul St Hilda’s College at the University of Oxford

Tim Ronalds Architects and Belfast-based Hall McKnight are also finalists in the invited competition, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, for the high-profile job which has a budget in excess of £10 million.

Launched as part of the former women-only college’s 125th anniversary campaign, the project will increase accommodation for students and fellows.

Additional social areas, teaching spaces and a ‘middle common room’ will also be delivered as part of a new college gateway approached from Cowley Place.

College principal Gordon Duff said: ‘We were delighted with the response from the practices we approached and appreciated the care they took with their submissions. The practices that won through did so because of their depth of analysis and connection with the college’s values.’

He continued: ‘This will be a defining project for the college – energising and inspirational – giving St Hilda’s the opportunity to make an assured architectural statement and contribute to the much-celebrated Oxford cityscape.’

Reading added: ‘These are all highly accomplished and award-winning practices that carefully read our expression of interest and took the project to heart.

‘St Hilda’s is known for its creative and sociable atmosphere but it combines this with a serious academic approach. It is this rare combination of flair and rigour that positions the college so well for the future.’

The finalists will present their concept designs in an exhibition at St Hilda’s in February followed by interviews with the jury.

Founded in 1893, St Hilda’s was one of the five former women-only colleges in Oxford before it began accepting male students seven years ago.

Famous alumnae include poet Wendy Cope, Liberal Democrat politician Susan Kramer, broadcaster Zeinab Badawi and IT Crowd actor Katherine Parkinson.

Garden building, St Hilda's College Oxford by Alison and Peter Smithson

Source: seier + seier

Garden building, St Hilda’s College Oxford by Alison and Peter Smithson

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I'm surprised your story doesn't mention that St Hilda's commissioned Alison and Peter Smithson in the late 60s to design student accommodation on the site. An important part of their oeuvre, it has an interesting juxtaposition with Big Jim's contemporaneous Florey Building just up the river and borrows elements of the Economist building, completed a few years before. The cladding was described by Alison as a 'yashmak' to "prevent the girls from being too exposed".

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  • While we're being surprised about the APS accommodation I'm also surprised that you didn't mention the wonderful St Hilda's Jacqueline du Pré Music Building by van Heyningen and Haward opened in 1995 or another famous alumna, the BBC's Zeinab Badawi, the first Sudanese woman to go to Oxford.

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