New College Music School

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Client: New College
Location: New College, Oxford

The Music building project was a complex design problem, where in order to satisfy the brief a significant portion of a difficult site area had to be utilised. The site was an infill plot with a deep footprint overlooked on one side by a significant number of windows. Binding the edge of the site is a remnant of the civil war rampart. 

The concept for un-picking this conundrum was that of the linear garden. Within this framework the ramparts were re-discovered and expressed as integral to the scheme. A circulatory route was developed through the ‘landscape’, with a pavilion, walls and sculptural elements ordering the promenade. The pavilion mediated between the street and the garden beyond, providing a sense of entrance. Beneath the pavilion a large rehearsal room was set, projecting forward to the road as a half level podium. On entering the garden, the rampart complete with gabions and shooting deck were then recreated and music practice pods floated as objects in space suspended above. A mirroring high level floating deck provides access as well as a viewing platform for the monument. The over-sailing lightweight canopy protects from weather and unifies the composition. 

The resultant ensemble is transparent and open, allowing multiple glimpsed views around and through the various elements – more sculpture than built form.