Dorfman Centre, Oxford

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Location: Oxford, UK

Client: St Peter’s College

The Dorfman Centre is perched on a very tight site at the back of St Peter’s College, hard against the historic Bulwark’s Lane Wall.

The College brief was for a multi-purpose seminar facility capable of seating up to forty people that would reclaim an unloved corner of the campus, and reintegrate it back into the College

The Dorfman Centre is conceived as an exquisite timber box using a construction approach akin to boat-building.  It ‘docks’ lightly into the site, keeping ground-works to a minimum so as not to disturb an important archaeological site, and was fabricated using piece-small sections that could easily be carried by hand to the inaccessible location. The timber specified is both environmentally friendly and completely renewable.

Internally the seminar room is lined in oak and cedar and is fitted with state of the art audio visual equipment. The Dorfman Centre is a warm and cosy garden pavilion that sits comfortably beside its august neighbours, and celebrates the qualities of good carpentry and craftsmanship. It is approached via a pergola and a small cloister court which adds a new element to the sequence of quadrangles in the College.

The Dorfman Centre won the Oxford Preservation Trust Award for a Contemporary Building in an Historic Setting 2004.