Oriel College Design Competition
© MRC

Oriel College Design Competition

Malcolm Reading Consultants as Consultants

Allies and Morrison has won the Oriel College Reprogramming Oriel’s Social Spaces design competition, Malcolm Reading Consultants is delighted to announce.


The competition was paused for a year when the shortlisted proposals raised issues for the Oxford College’s masterplan, which the College needed to re-evaluate. Once this was done, final interviews with the teams were held last month and the decision ratified by the College’s Governing Body last week.


Each team was invited back to discuss the impact of the masterplan analysis on their design concept. Allies and Morrison illustrated a re-working of the layered levels in their original concept, showing how spaces would be easier to access and operate, together with an elegant resolution of bulk and sightlines in the new roof scape.


The College has released images from the winning scheme.


‘We are so pleased the competition has reached a happy conclusion – not least because it elicited an unparalleled long-list of practices brimming with good ideas. The brief for the project is extremely challenging because of the constraints of the site and sensitivity required in accommodating a complex set of objectives within a Grade l setting.’ said Malcolm Reading.


‘We would like to thank the finalist teams for their patience in bearing with the competitive process while it was put on hold. They all showed admirable dedication and seriousness in revisiting and reappraising their schemes for the final interviews.’ ‘The jury acknowledged that all of the schemes were sensitive and inventive but after extensive discussion, Allies and Morrison’s scheme was declared the unanimous winner. It set the bar for a new development at Oriel and the promise of an extremely graceful architectural resolution.’ he added.


More than sixty teams submitted Expressions of Interest for the competition, which was launched in late June 2013. The shortlist, a fascinating cross-section of British architectural talent ranging from the contextual to the contemporary, was made-up of established practices with extensive portfolios.


New building at Oriel College, Oxford

Allies and Morrison Architects as Urban Planners

Allies and Morrison win design competition for a new building at Oriel College, Oxford


Allies and Morrison are delighted to have been selected to work with Oriel College, Oxford, to design a new building for their Brewhouse site on Magpie Lane, following a design competition organised by Maclcom Reading. At the heart of Allies and Morrison’s proposal is a new pavilion at the level of the Hall, which will create a space overlooking Magpie Lane. The configuration of the new roof maximises natural light in the adjacent Hall and Chapel and provides a terrace overlooking the Lane. By transforming what is currently a service area, the College will enjoy a much more positive presence behind its existing medieval wall.


The proposals also reshape Oriel’s catering operations, by providing a series of social spaces all accessed from a new kitchen. This will streamline food service and provide a vastly enhanced dining experience, particularly in the historic College Hall, while also facilitating more informal gatherings. A new lift will link these facilities and transform disabled access to the college’s social spaces.


Graham Morrison, partner at Allies and Morrison, commented “We greatly enjoy working on projects that involve placing new buildings in historic contexts. At Oriel, we imagine the new pavilion as a jewel set on this tight triangular site between the College Hall, the Chapel and its medieval boundary wall. Behind this there will be considerable reorganisation of existing spaces which will also be refurbished to provide exciting new social spaces for the College.”


Moria Wallace, Provost of Oriel, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Allies and Morrison on this important project. In a high-quality field, they impressed us with a design that is practical, beautiful and sensitive to its surroundings, and we will enjoy working with them to take the project forward.”

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