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Revealed: designs by finalists in St Hilda's contest

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The AJ can exclusively reveal the concepts by the finalists in the contest to design a new riverside block for St Hilda’s College at Oxford University

The proposals have been drawn up by DRDH, 6a Architects, Gort Scott, Tim Ronalds Architects and Hall McKnight. The five practices were chosen from a list of 19 firms originally invited to bid for the job – which has a budget of more than £10 million – by competition organisers Malcolm Reading Consultants.

The brief for the Redefining St Hilda’s project overlooking the River Cherwell included ‘improving and increasing’ the amount of accommodation for students and fellows, as well as providing new social and teaching spaces, a new common room, porters’ lodge and entrance.

Malcolm Reading of Malcolm Reading Consultants. said: ‘Each [of the five distinct concept designs] takes a different approach in celebrating the new gateway to the riverside site, combining this with a sequence of academic and residential accommodation that will give St Hilda’s an assured new building.

‘The submissions sparkle with enthusiasm and ideas, which are passionately argued and beautifully presented.’

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

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

Other architects to have worked for St Hilda’s include Alison and Peter Smithson, who designed the 1968 Garden Building, and van Heyningen and Haward – the practice behind the college’s 1995 Jacqueline du Pré Music Building.

The concept designs will be showcased at the college for ‘invited guests and stakeholders’ between 1 and 12 February. The finalists will be interviewed in March and a winner announced later that month.


Gordon Duff, St Hilda’s College Principal

’These five teams have produced wonderful images and models to help us conceptualise their proposals. The brief was demanding and each team has responded with a different analysis of priorities and design opportunities. We very much look forward to the detailed assessment.

’We are keenly aware of the legacy we give to future generations as well as the opportunity to enhance Oxford itself. This initiative is all about reimagining this beautiful site and creating an academic environment which is pleasing and satisfying to use, and which enables the College to flourish over the next hundred years.’


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