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MAY 2017

Catherine Hughes Building Planning Approval

Our new student accommodation scheme for Somerville College, has been awarded planning approval unanimously by Oxford City Council. The project, known as the Catherine Hughes Building, will provide 68 bedrooms, allowing the College to accommodate all their undergraduates on site. This is our third building for Somerville College, further to our work on the ROQ student housing and the extension to the Philip Dowson designed Wolfson building.

The new building has a frontage on to Walton Street, with a Graduate Reading Room at ground floor level. The use of red brick will reflect the neighbouring buildings, with articulated brickwork elements around generous windows to provide a rhythm to the façade. Framed setbacks at third floor level allow the new building to align with key levels on the adjacent Penrose Building and to provide variety to the roof line. Internally, bedrooms are arranged in to clusters with kitchens and circulation spaces utilising direct and borrowed natural light and forming focal points for social activity.

Enabling works, involving the demolition of existing buildings, are due to commence in the next few months, with the main construction expected to start on site at the beginning of 2018.


MARCH 2017

Natural History Museum Progress

Below are some from the Natural History Museum site showing the scaffold ‘tunnel’ going up at the Museum. This is the framework required to lift, manipulate, and move the blue whale skull into position in a few weeks.

Though the main hall has had a sperm whale in it before, this was only around 15m long. In contrast, the blue whale, the largest known animal to have ever existed, is about 30m long once assembled.

Unfortunately, due to the various extensions and alterations to the Museum over time, the skull can only come in via the front doors. And – much like a very large, very heavy, very valuable sofa – it’s a case of squeezing it in at strange angles.