MRC has been appointed by New College, Oxford, to advise on a new project – the fourth in a series that is enabling the College to refresh and expand its accommodation and reimagine its facilities.
The commission comes as construction on the showpiece Gradel Quadrangles gathers momentum. Due to complete by summer 2023, the architectural composition has been praised by Historic England, who described it as ‘one of the very few instances where contemporary design can be considered genuinely outstanding’.
The designers, David Kohn Architects, won MRC’s invited competition in 2015 with their inspired interpretation of a quadrangle, a fluid design that enjoys an open relationship with the city and nature, and which is foregrounded by a tower and gatehouse.
The project, named after the donor, will create a new living and working space in a stunning new architectural setting. Ninety-nine student rooms will be created, along with state-of-the-art flexible study and teaching spaces, a multi-purpose arts and performance venue, and new facilities for New College School.
MRC’s 2022 project encompasses a feasibility study that will explore ways to upgrade and extend the College Library, transforming it for upcoming generations, while sensitively honouring its historic setting and immediate environment.
Previously, MRC invited designers to imagine new uses for Chapel Yard, a small yet precious space located between the College’s Grade I listed Chapel and the ancient city walls, while the Longwall competition asked leading architectural practices to explore ways of creatively integrating the College’s historic buildings on Longwall Street.
Despite its name, New College was founded in the 14th century, and is one of the University’s oldest and best-known colleges – and one of the most beautiful. Situated in the heart of Oxford, it features the earliest planned college quadrangle, and its spectacular gardens are set against the medieval city wall.
MRC is delighted to work with the College again.