St Antony’s College Oxford Building

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St Antony’s College Oxford : Gateway Building

New Entry + Bedroom Accommodation, UK – design by Bennetts Associates

13 May 2013

St Antony’s College Development

Design: Bennetts Associates

Location: Oxford, England

Bennetts Associates transforms St Antony’s College

Two new buildings by Bennetts Associates have recently been completed for St Antony’s College in Oxford.

St Antony’s College Gateway Building Oxford St Antony’s College Gateway Building Oxford
photos © Hufton+Crow

The five-storey Gateway Buildings are a significant addition to St Antony’s estate, defining a new presence for the college on one of the main routes serving the city centre. The project comprises a new main entrance, Porters’ Lodge, 54 en-suite study bedrooms, offices for College staff and meeting/work space within glazed rooftop pavilions.

St Antony’s is one of Oxford University’s newer Colleges but the estate previously suffered a lack of presence and a disparate grouping of buildings at odds with its highly acclaimed academic reputation. Bennetts Associates’ design has addressed these issues in a highly symbolic manner that roots St Antony’s firmly in the Oxford College tradition. The new buildings announce the location of the College prominently on the Woodstock Road, frame an engaging main entrance sequence and enclose the central quadrangle for the very first time. In combination with a strong contemporary expression, the physical identity of St Antony’s has been transformed and now sits confidently amongst its peers.

Bennetts Associates’ design responds to its context both within the St Antony’s estate and the North Oxford Conservation Area. The latter is characterised by a language of wide streets lined with mature trees and large villas, where the gaps between offer enticing glimpses to the gardens beyond. Breaking the brief and the massing of the Gateway Buildings into two is in direct response to this character and allows the creation of the engaging entry sequence.

St Antony’s College Gateway Building Oxford St Antony’s College Gateway Building Oxford
photos © Hufton+Crow

The two buildings are carefully positioned in relation to the neighbouring Grade II listed buildings. The 1960s Hilda Besse building is enclosed and revealed in a way that evokes the wider masterplan it was originally intended to be part of. The positioning of the southerly block of the Gateway Buildings allows the ornate gable of Main Building – a former convent – to remain visible and respects the setting of the fine mature chestnut trees on Woodstock Road.

The roofline consciously echoes the animation of Main Building and large Victorian houses in the area, whilst the palette of Cotswold stone, bronze and walnut is intended to be both timeless and contemporary. The listed perimeter wall has been reconfigured to create a new entrance forecourt.

Internally, the design approach again combines modernity with tradition. The upper floors of each of the two blocks accommodate the graduate rooms, arranged in nine clusters or ‘houses’ of six rooms around a kitchen and staircase, following the long-established ‘Oxbridge’ model. The staircases which link the clusters are spirals of finely crafted walnut, with high quality finishes and fixtures continued throughout the kitchens and en-suite rooms.

The Gateway Buildings are highly sustainable and include a range of features from passive design principles such as sensible glazing ratios, natural ventilation and planted roofs to renewables systems such as ground source heat pumps fed from pipework under the lawned quadrangle and solar arrays for hot water production – the main energy demand in student residences.

The Warden of St Antony’s Professor Margaret MacMillan, said: “This is a hugely important project for the College both in terms of the increased accommodation, and related income stream it brings us, but also in giving us a new identity that enhances the confidence and pride amongst Fellows, staff, and students. We are delighted with the design and the quality of the finished product and are sure that the Gateway Buildings will greatly aid us in what is becoming an increasingly competitive global market for post-graduate education.”

Bennetts Associates Director Julian Lipscombe added: “It is enormously satisfying to add our first completed project to the rich architectural showcase of this remarkable city. The placing of the buildings and the spaces they define have been carefully crafted to transform the experience of visiting and inhabiting the College. We feel the ensemble is both confidently contemporary and quintessentially ‘Oxford’ in its character.”


25 Oct 2011

St Antony’s College Development

Design: Bennetts Associates
Gateway Building for St Antony’s College gets underway

Construction has started on Bennetts Associates’ new Gateway Building for St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, a graduate college specialising in international relations, economics, politics and specialist areas of history.

The scheme will bring greater coherence to the College’s estate, which currently occupies a disparate group of buildings from different periods. It also provides the opportunity to enclose the central quadrangle for the first time – a symbolically important act that roots St Antony’s more firmly in the Oxford College tradition.

St Antony’s College Gateway Building
image © Bennetts Associates

A new main entrance and Porters’ Lodge on Woodstock Road will transform the identity of the College and rationalise circulation around the estate. The site is within the North Oxford Conservation Area and the new buildings sit between two Grade II listed buildings, including the well known 1960s Hilda Besse Building. The Gateway Buildings aim to create a confident and contemporary response to this diverse range of influences.

Two blocks are being constructed to house 54 high quality en-suite study bedrooms for postgraduate students and conference delegates outside term time. The graduate rooms are arranged in nine clusters of six rooms, following the traditional ‘Oxbridge’ model. In addition, flexible office space will be provided and top floor pavilions to each block will animate the skyline in response to the Conservation Area context and will contain a seminar room as well as a senior academics’ suite.

Stone, bronze and oak have been chosen as the primary materials to give the building a timeless quality. The development will also include a number of sustainable features including rooftop solar arrays for hot water supply – the major energy demand in a predominantly residential building – and ground source heat pumps fed from pipework underneath the lawned quadrangle.

Commenting on the project, the Warden of the College Professor Margaret MacMillan said: “Our new buildings are a gateway for St Antony’s in both a literal and a figurative sense. They provide a worthy entrance to the College and will significantly extend our physical resources. Of equal importance, they will transform our finances by giving us a sure stream of income so that we can better support our current students and our academic work as well as undertaking new initiatives.”

Bennetts Associates’ Director, Julian Lipscombe added: “After five years of involvement with the project it is great to have reached this defining moment. It has been particularly rewarding to establish a new relationship with HKPA’s building from the 1960s and we are proud to be making our contribution to the built fabric of Oxford”.

St Antony’s College Gateway Building Oxford images / information / from Bennetts Associates

Bennetts Associates

24 Jan 2013

Middle East Centre, Saint Antony’s College

Middle East Centre of St. Antony’s College
Design: Zaha Hadid Architects
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image from architect

Saint Antony’s College
The Middle East Centre of St. Antony’s College is the University of Oxford’s centre for interdisciplinary study of the Modern Middle East. The centre was founded in 1957 and it is focused on research on humanities and social sciences with a wide reference to the Arab World and its geographic adjacencies.

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