St. George’s Gate, Oxford
Oxford Hall Brings a Touch of Class to Industrial Area
Quotes reprinted from The Architects Journal 7 December, 1995.
‘St George’s Gate, a new hall of residence designed by Marcus Beale Architects for St Peter’s College, Oxford restores a semi-industrialised corner of the city to the more salubrious architectural fold of the university. This new accommodation provides 33 new study bedrooms, a common room and kitchen.”
‘The building sits on Quaking Bridge above the remains of a medieval wall and adjoining Castle Tower. Piled foundations support a reinforced waterproof tank with a stainless-steel plate lip below the bottom storey window sills. This takes the weight of the new load-bearing masonry wall.”
‘Marcus Beale’s design, which draws on the eighteenth-century gabled houses that occupied the site, has all the components of traditional Oxbridge college buildings – a forbidding street facade, an entrance courtyard and a more open facade facing the water.
‘The Mill Stream elevation incorporates subtle detailing to reduce the impact of its three storeys. This includes recessed windows which diminish in width as the storeys rise. The bridge elevation is “softened” by small windows with fixed side panels in blue glass.
‘The difficult junction where the building joins the wall of the Castle Tower is achieved by sloping the roof line and switching to a contemporary design idiom.
‘The common-room interior is dominated by the exposed wall of the tower. Floor-to-ceiling glazing overlooks the Mill Stream and opens onto a balcony. The roofing is in patent glazing and a box gutter takes up the irregularities in the ancient stonework. Balconies in galvanised steel are contemporary.
‘An irregular wedge-shaped plan means the students’ rooms vary in size and shape. The fitted beech-veneered furniture is Polish. En-suite shower/WC pods come from France. Corridor walls provide access cupboards to services in the rooms and give depth to individual doorways.
‘The commission for St George’s Gate was secured by TEAM services. Steve Bagland, an architect and design manager, at TEAM introduced Beale to the project. They had worked together before, ensuring the success of a particularly satisfactory architect-led design and build scheme.’
Deborah Singmaster, The Architects Journal
7 December, 1995