THREE new Oxford University buildings have been recognised as some of the finest architecture in the country.
The Library and Study Centre at St John’s College, the Clore Music Studios at New College, and The Dorothy Wadham Building in Iffley Road, have been named among the UK’s best new buildings.
The city projects are among the 54 winners of this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects’ prestigious National Awards.
The award scheme, which has run since 1966, also provided an insight into the latest design and economic trends.
The Library and Study Centre at St John’s College in Oxford received a special award as RIBA South Building of the Year, which was sponsored by Michelmersh.
Designed by Wright & Wright Architects, it is described by RIBA as having a ‘robust sustainable design” where the ‘commissioning of artisans for elements such as the stone artwork and joinery’ do not ‘go unnoticed’.
It added “The project has been used to link older parts of the college with newer parts, with the creation of new routes providing communal meeting points.
“The library and study centre is student-focused, with different types of reading/research spaces to cater for personal preferences and study methods.”
The Clore Music Studios at New College, Oxford University, by John McAslan + Partners was described as a project which appears simple in its design but was borne from many constraints.
These included planning restrictions to the height, a Civil War rampart restricting the width, desires to tie the building with the surrounding accommodation and the essential requirement of a lift large enough to carry pianos to the top floor.
RIBA said the challenge was resolved and the music studios and performance spaces cater for the musicians’ needs.
It described how the building has been ‘enveloped in stone and glass and respecting the streetscape well’.
It also said: “The stonework has in parts been worked, to add texture and detail to what could have been an otherwise flat stone box.”
Judges said of the Dorothy Wadham Building by Allies and Morrison at Wadham College, University of Oxford. that the architecture here is said to replicate ‘the traditional villas along Iffley Road, with a contemporary update’.
RIBA said: “The main building on Iffley Road maintains the height and grandeur, whilst the buildings addressing the side streets step down to respect the traditional scale of the cottage terraces that are typical of the area.
“This method of integrating the new scheme is used again with the retention of a rear access lane across the back of the site, which provides space for the new communal facilities building and cycle stores.”
The winners, announced today, were selected from the RIBA Regional Award winners determined earlier in the year.
Five architectural projects in Oxfordshire won South Awards.