Rhodes House OxfordFriday, 14 August 2020
Planning permission and Listed Building Consent were granted on 11 August. This is our first collaboration with Stanton Williams Architects who are designing a £37 million scheme which will radically transform this Grade II* listed building. Our role was to research the cultural significance of the building, landscape and setting, advise Stanton Williams on conservation and design aspects of the proposals and help them overcome the many conservation challenges during prolonged discussions with Oxford City Council and Historic England. It was fascinating to go through the Rhodes Trust archives to track Herbert Baker’s design development and the late evolution of the plan to incorporate what is now the Rotunda, the original correspondence sprinkled with sketches and diagrams, some on folded scraps of tracing paper. I seem to be following Cecil Rhodes around, after spending 5 years on the Rhodes building at Oriel college, where a major refurbishment by MBA added an extra floor. By adding another layer of history architects can add nuance and cultural context to our built heritage.