New College – Kimber Wing
The Kimber Wing project upgraded a group of listed buildings clustered around the north-east corner of Oxford’s medieval city walls at New College, Oxford to form a new landscaped courtyard in the shape of an irregular quad. The surrounding buildings include two timber framed terraced houses from the 17th century, an early 19th century stone faced house, and the garage that William Morris [Lord Nuffield] built to establish his business at 21 Longwall Street in 1910. Morris’s Garage was remodelled in 1980. All the existing buildings on the site are listed. The south wall of the courtyard is the medieval city wall, a scheduled monument.
The new wing is perpendicular to the city wall. Views to the wall from Longwall Street resulted in a low roof form. Two clay-tiled flanks conceal a serrated row of zinc clad dormers with clerestory windows. This enables a deep plan whilst maintaining good levels of natural light in the study bedrooms. The red tiled pitched roof is carried around the courtyard like a ribbon, unifying new and old and helping to regularise the experience of an irregular, polygonal space. The new building is clad in timber to emphasise its garden-like qualities, and to contrast with the masonry of the medieval city wall. This sits on a base of blue engineering bricks.
The project has changed an under-loved gravelled garden into a coherent landscaped courtyard with a unique sense of place. The planting, in geometric formal beds, was designed by New College Gardens Fellow Robin Lane-Fox. To the south is the 12th century city wall and its north eastern corner bastion. A low wall and a change of level marks the line of the outer medieval wall and what was once the city ditch. The change in level from slype to court is accomplished by a sinuous inclined pathway which reflects the curvature of the north east bastion. Engineering bricks form a continuous base around the courtyard including new landscape and retaining walls.
The building provides suites for students with high levels of disability. The accessible nature of the new accommodation sets what Chancellor Chris Patten, opening the building in 2019, called a ‘gold standard’ of inclusivity for the University.
Conservation of listed buildings. The surrounding listed buildings at 18-21 Longwall Street were repaired and conserved to provide an appropriate modern standard of student accommodation. Ensuite bathrooms were inserted, acoustic separation and fire safety improved. Repairs were made to timber framing, lime render, and stone. The work has improved standards of insulation and rationalised services in the existing buildings, improving environmental sustainability. The south elevation of the Morris Garage was re-clad in zinc and its central archway converted into a common room.
In 2019 the project received an Oxford Preservation Trust Award. It was nominated by the conservation team at Oxford City Council. Link to New College Living Heritage page here.
- Oxford, UK
- Job Architect
- Caitriona O'Connor, Marcus Beale Architects
- Quantity Surveyor & Project Management
- Austin Newport Group
- Inclusive Design Consultancy
- David Bonnett Associates
- Structural Engineers
- SFK Consulting
- Services Engineers
- QODA Consulting
- Drainage Engineers
- Lawfull Associates