Somerville College Student Accommodation


The practice was appointed by the University of Oxford to design new student accommodation for Somerville College, after winning an invited competition. The brief also included a new Teaching and Library Building. The new buildings form a boundary between the existing college quadrangle and the southern edge of the large scale redevelopment of the Radcliffe Infirmary site into new faculty and research buildings for the University.

The project draws themes from the surrounding buildings to weave it into the grain of the city. The oak-clad bay windows, pushed out from the facade, are a restatement of themes of Philip Dowson’s Wolfson Building for Somerville College. The brick is a reference to the adjacent Keble College and the neighbouring residential area of Jericho with its Victorian brick workers’ cottages. The project links the two areas, creating a seam of brick running through this northern section of the city.

From inside the student rooms, the bespoke window units, which combine a desk and a window seat, allow oblique views up and down the street and maximise the natural light entering the rooms. The project utilises renewable technologies including a ground source heat pump, solar thermal array and photovoltaics, to achieve BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.

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