New College Residential Quad

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Client: New College
Location: New College, Oxford

The project brief was for the provision of  a 90 student room development with appropriate common room and social facilities to form a new residential quad for the College. The site was constricted such that heights were limited to adjacent roof heights, and with the added planning constraint that the building forms as experienced from the public realm, should have the appearance of Villas set back within private gardens.

The solution to this problem was tiering of the landscape with sunken courts bounded by garden walls, allowing a fully occupiable lower ground floor. By use of this device, a significant sense of enclosure became achievable, with heights never falling below 2 storeys when experienced from within the quads. The clever manipulation of roofscapes meant that from the street frontages the public perception was of 2 storey villas set within gardens.

However, on entering the site, a collegiate world of quads, gardens and enclosing walls opened up, all set at varying levels within the landscape. The ‘garden wall’ became the ordering motif of the design, with room bays suspended above trees and climbing plants.