We are currently working on the design of a third project for Somerville College. The student accommodation brief of the Catherine Hughes building has similarities to our Radcliffe Observatory Quarter residential scheme that we completed for Somerville College in 2011.
The project is sited at the fulcrum of the curve on Walton Street, becoming an integral part of the street scene in close proximity to the recently refurbished Grade II listed Wolfson building. As viewed from the south and north, the frontage picks up levels from the neighbouring buildings to fit within the existing urban grain. The design recognises both the sensitive character of the Jericho Conservation Area and the changing nature of Walton Street as the neighbouring Radcliffe Observatory Quarter development introduces a change of scale and an increasingly institutional feel. We have worked hard to propose a scheme that reacts to these two conditions – taking direct prompts from the adjacent buildings and the scale of the neighbouring properties but at the same time offering an ambitious, modern building with a communal feel.
We see the frontage provided by the Graduate Reading Room at ground floor as an opportunity to respond positively to Walton Street and offer a view into College life from the public realm. Internally, bedrooms are arranged into clusters with kitchens and circulation spaces forming focus points of social activity. Study bedrooms have generous windows which benefit from plenty of natural light and an open layout to make these spaces functional for study and comfortable for rest.