St Hilda’s Oxford

Transformative front of house development for St Hilda’s Oxford riverside site

Proposal as seen from the River Cherwell
Proposal as seen from the River Cherwell
Early sketch of the proposals as seen from the Botanic Garden that explores vertical rhythms, horizontal datums and window sizes
St Hilda's College Concept Sketch
Early sketches of the proposals that explore vertical rhythms, horizontal datums and window sizes
Early sketch of the proposals as seen from the Botanic Garden that explores vertical rhythms, horizontal datums and window sizes
Early sketch of the proposals as seen from the Botanic Garden that explores vertical rhythms, horizontal datums and window sizes
St Hilda's College Concept Sketch



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.’

The design of the tower has undergone many considerable thought and scrutiny, with many and varied iterations tested and assessed
The design of the tower has undergone many considerable thought and scrutiny, with many and varied iterations tested and assessed
St Hilda's College Design Strategy
Site strategy distilled to four key moves
St Hilda's College Design Strategy

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.

St Hilda's College, Students rowing on Cherwell river in 1895
St Hilda's College, South Building Exterior in 1951
Historic photos from 1895 and 1951
St Hilda's College, Students rowing on Cherwell river in 1895
Students rowing on Cherwell, 1895
St Hilda's College, South Building Exterior in 1951
South Building Exterior, 1951
St Hilda's College, Context Model, River View
Competition scheme
St Hilda's College, Context Model, River View
St Hilda's College, Oxford, Pavilion Elevation Model
St Hilda's College, Pavilion Plan Model
Model of the pavilion
St Hilda's College, Oxford, Pavilion Elevation Model
St Hilda's College, Pavilion Plan Model

“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
St Hilda's College concept sketch street view
St Hilda's College concept sketch street view
St Hilda's College Street View
St Hilda's College Street View at night
St Hilda's College - Street View
Approach from Cowley Place
St Hilda's College Street View
Main approach to the college, produced September 2017
St Hilda's College Street View at night
View of the proposal at dusk as seen on the approach from Cowley Place
St Hilda's College - Street View
Main approach to St Hilda’s college, August 2020

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.

St Hilda's College, tower at entrance during site visit
St Hilda's College - Entrance under construction
Construction in progress, August 2020
St Hilda's College, tower at entrance during site visit
St Hilda's College - Entrance under construction
St Hilda's College Entrance
St Hilda's College - entrance elevation
St Hilda's College Entrance
A new college entrance
St Hilda's College - entrance elevation
Proposal as seen from the Hall Building

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
Illustrated site section
Illustrated site section

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 - Courtyard view from the north
Scale and massing
View from the River Cherwell
Proposed Pavilion nestled in the riverine landscape
St Hilda's College - Courtyard view from the north
View from Hall Building
View from North Lawn
St Hilda's College - Pavilion construction in progress
St Hilda's College, Pavilion construction in progress
St Hilda's College - Pavilion roof interior construction in progress
Pavilion under construction, August 2020
St Hilda's College - Pavilion construction in progress
St Hilda's College, Pavilion construction in progress
St Hilda's College - Pavilion roof interior construction in progress
St Hilda's College Concept sketch river garden
St Hilda's College, concept sketch river view
Proposed Pavilion nestled in the riverine landscape
St Hilda's College Concept sketch river garden
St Hilda's College, concept sketch river view
St Hilda's College - Site Visit
St Hilda's College - River view from the top
St Hilda's college facade
St Hilda's College, facade photograph during construction
Construction in progress, August 2020
St Hilda's College - Site Visit
St Hilda's College - River view from the top
St Hilda's college facade
Facade detail, August 2020
St Hilda's College, facade photograph during construction
Construction stage
St Hilda's College, facade close-up visualisation
This close up visualisation of part of the Boundary Building facade illustrates our Design Intent for materiality and details
St Hilda's College, facade close-up visualisation
This close up visualisation of part of the Boundary Building facade illustrates our Design Intent for materiality and details
St Hilda's College, botanical gardens view
View from University of Oxford Botanic Garden
St Hilda's College, botanical gardens view
View from University of Oxford Botanic Garden
St Hilda's College South Garden View
Proposal as seen from the South Lawn

Further information

Data

Location
Oxford
Project type
Workplace and learning, Heritage and adaptation
Budget
£20m (construction)
Status
On site
Floor area
3800m2

Credits

Client
St Hilda’s College, Oxford
Gort Scott Team
Jay Gort, Chris Neve, Dominic Dudley, Amy Wong
Collaborators
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)
Contractor
Beard

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