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Design Engine gets go-ahead for £2m Oxford college revamp

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Plans by Design Engine for an overhaul of St Peter’s College, part of the University of Oxford, have been approved

The 297m² scheme, with a £2.2million budget, aims to make St Peter’s College ‘a better place to study, teach and live’ and forms phase two of the wider Perrodo Project to redevelop the college, which was founded in 1929.

Design Engine’s proposals include a new three-storey building with a set-back fourth storey. This will feature a ‘veil’, comprised of copper rods, over the metal-clad façade.

Sat in the Hannington and Chavasse Quads, the new building will contain six new study bedrooms, a seminar room and a ground floor study and event space.

Richard James, project architect at Design Engine, said: ’Unifying the complexity of the brief within this historic but tight site was an exciting challenge. Working closely with the local planning authority we were able to satisfy the planning demands of this beautiful city and exceed the College’s expectations for the potential of the site.

He added: ’We hope we have designed a building which is contemporary in nature but achieves the same richness of façade evident in the surrounding the quad, which will continue the tradition of quality architecture within St Peter’s College. Richard James, Associate & Project Architect.’

Three existing seminar spaces in the listed Chavasse Building will also be refurbished, as well as the Hannington and Chavasse Quads being redeveloped.

Work is expected to start on site later this year.

1514 n13 medium

1514 n13 medium

Source: Design Engine


Project data

Location Oxford
Type of project University building
Client St Peter’s College
Architect Design Engine
Landscape architect Bradley-Hole Schoenaich
Structural engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan
M&E consultant Hoare Lea
Quantity surveyor Ridge
Project Manager Waterman Project Management
Lighting consultant Hoare Lea
Funding Private
Tender date 19 September
Start on site date November 2016
Completion date December 2017
Contract duration 18 months
Gross internal floor area 297m²
Form of contract and/or procurement Traditional
Total cost £2.2million

Architects’ view

The listed Chavasse building has a strong presence in the College, however there is currently little relationship between the three ground floor meeting rooms and Chavasse Quad. Our proposal is to open the bricked-up arches – for access, light and view - in order to transform the internal environment. Moreover, improvements to the Quad will involve a closer physical relationship, as we imagine the meeting rooms will open out to the quad in Summer. It would allow for improvements in daylighting and better permeability from the quad.

The proposed new building is a three-storey pavilion with a set-back fourth-storey. The height reflects the surrounding buildings: both the new building and the Chavasse Building that define the Chavasse Quad. The arrangement of functions is intended to replicate those of Chavasse with communal spaces on the ground floor opening onto the re-landscaped quad with private study rooms above. The plan comprises a circulation route which runs along the southern side of the building, day-lit from above the bedrooms, and seminar spaces are accessed from here.

This division in the use of spaces on different floors could present an incoherent facade. The proposed solution is to apply a ‘veil‘ or screen to the facade to help unify it and give coherence to the different levels and uses. Existing material colours, tones and textures are referenced in a contemporary way within the proposed building by layering facade elements to create this screen.

An open filigree of square section ceramic rods are proposed to the primary facade as a reference to the stone tracery evident in a number of existing buildings on site. The ceramic has a natural finish chosen to match the texture and tone of the stone. The ceramic is layered in front of a bronze coloured metal cladding which has been chosen to match the colour of the existing brick buildings.

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