St. Clare's College,
Oxford

Client

St. Clare's Services

Awards

+ MSA Design Awards Commendation 2008

A college which caters for 16-18 year olds, the majority of whom are international students, St. Clare’s embodies a unique character and ethos, made to manifest in particular through its accommodation which is disposed throughout a number of former family dwellings set within the North Oxford Conservation Area.

This evident ‘domesticity’ imbued our design approach to a brief which required 60 additional student beds (through a mix of single and shared bedrooms), wardens’ accommodation and a new art department to be incorporated within the curtilage of a 1903 Grade II listed Arts and Crafts house by Henry T Hare, which currently serves as a student residence.

Our proposal fragments the programme into 3 distinct buildings which read as ‘pavilions in the landscape’: architectural pieces which are subservient in scale to the existing house, and enjoy an intimate relation to the garden’s enclosing brick walls and mature trees. Two of the pavilions ‘hinge’ around the existing house and extend longitudinally into the garden, thus framing and reinforcing the symmetry of its composition. The third pavilion is sited at the bottom of the garden, its component parts articulated into two distinctive forms connected by bridges, which allow views through to the ancient orchard beyond.

Timber, used both structurally and as cladding, reinforces the relationship between pavilions and garden, lending a reassuring calm to the setting, whose ‘domesticity’ prevails.