New College – Morris Garage and Kimber Wing
The Morris Garage and Kimber Wing project upgraded a group of listed buildings clustered around the north-east corner of Oxford’s medieval city walls at New College, and provided new specialised residential accommodation. Two timber framed terraced houses from the 17th century, a grander early 19th century stone villa, and the garage that William Morris [later Lord Nuffield] built to establish his business at 21 Longwall Street in 1910, and the 12th century medieval city wall, a scheduled monument, surround a new landscaped courtyard.
The new wing is set perpendicular to the city wall over the line of the city moat. Views to the wall from Longwall Street were preserved by adopting 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 daylight in the interiors. 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 heavy masonry of the medieval city wall. The new building sits on a base of blue engineering bricks.
The project has transformed an under-loved corner of the college into a coherent landscaped courtyard with a strong 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 city wall and what was once the city ditch. The change in level from the slype to the new courtyard 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 so that students who could not previously attend the university can now do so. Chancellor Chris Patten, opening the building in 2019, said that the development ‘set a gold standard’ of accessibility for the University of Oxford.
Conservation of listed buildings. The surrounding listed buildings at 18-21 Longwall Street were a rabbit warren of student rooms. The interiors were carefully reordered to form ‘cluster flats’ eight students forming a ‘household’ with shared kitchens and common rooms. The fabric was 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 the 17th century timber framing and lime render and stone of the facades. The work increased 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. A link to New College Living Heritage page is 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
- Valentin Manaila