St Hilda’s Oxford
Transformative front of house development for St Hilda’s Oxford riverside site
Won through invited design competition in 2016, we have helped St Hilda’s realise their vision of creating a new point of arrival and a stronger relationship with river and the city beyond. The masterplan re-orders the sequence of open spaces and buildings, resulting in a more integrated campus that embodies St Hilda’s desire to create a ‘welcoming, non-judgemental and relatively informal atmosphere.’
Since St Hilda’s was founded in 1893, the site has evolved as an informal set of buildings on the banks of the River Cherwell, however the site lacked a sense of place and a connection to the wider landscape. Our new vision introduces spatial coherence to the site and delivers much needed facilities for the college in the form of two new buildings that both mark the college’s presence in the wider city and frame the landscape beyond.
“The scheme fits well into its natural and historic setting and frames the key views within the site. The slim fins and the lightweight framing elements create an elegant building.”Oxford Design Review Panel, May 2017
A new accommodation and teaching building transforms the urban boundary and creates a new arrival sequence that frames glimpses into the campus gardens from Cowley Street. A slender tower to the boundary building reinforces the College’s immediate street presence and the innate relationship with the spires and towers across Oxford’s skyline. Sitting alongside the existing listed buildings on the campus, the boundary building frames the revitalised landscape. In addition to a legible entrance, the boundary building provides offices, teaching spaces, MCR and accommodation for 59 students that would otherwise be scattered across the city, reinforcing a sense of collegiate belonging.
We are so pleased with our new buildings designed by Gort Scott and express our gratitude for your wonderful work on our behalf, and on behalf of generations of students who will benefit from your superb architectural skills in the years to come.Professor Sir Gordon Duff, Principal of St Hilda’s College
A new riverside pavilion building houses lectures and events whilst strengthening the College’s relationship to the riverine landscape. The jewel-like pavilion is in deliberate contrast to the solid boundary building that hugs the campus gardens – instead the landscape appears to flow around and through the lightweight glazed structure.
By carefully removing later architectural additions, and framing the landscape with the new buildings, the masterplan sets up uninterrupted views to Christchurch meadows and beyond, bringing the landscape – one of St Hilda’s greatest assets – into the heart of the college site. Embodying the College values of inclusivity and belonging, the masterplan serves to integrate St Hilda’s College into both the urban fabric, natural ecology and the rich history of Oxford.
- St Hilda’s College, Oxford
- Gort Scott Team
- Jay Gort, Chris Neve, Dominic Dudley, Amy Wong
- Marcus Beale Architects (heritage consultant), JCLA (landscape architect), Solid Structures (structural / civil engineer), Skelly and Couch (M&E), JPPC (planning consultant), Austin Newport Group (project manager and QS), Forbes Massie (visualisations)