Kendrew Quadrangle St John’s College, Oxford Project info

Kendrew Quadrangle

St John’s College, Oxford

Kendrew Quadrangle for St John’s College, Oxford includes student accommodation and related facilities designed by MJP Architects.

St. John’s College has a reputation for commissioning fine modern buildings, and has won several prizes for the two projects previously completed by MJP Architects, the Garden Quadrangle and the Senior Common Room. The new scheme is a prestigious new element within the College’s historic grounds and an important addition to the cityscape.

The building surrounds a beech tree of historic significance and is adjacent to listed buildings and listed walls in a conservation area. These elements have informed the design and construction significantly.

The building is approximately 6,000sqm in area over four floors plus a large basement. It is arranged in a quadrangle open to the South. In addition to the main quadrangle there are a number of gardens and small courtyards formed in the spaces between the new building and its surroundings.

The accommodation falls into three categories. There are approximately 80 student rooms with en-suite shower pods and 6 small flats for college fellows. Academic facilities consist of a law library, an archive and a number of teaching rooms. Communal facilities include a café, an events room and a gym, as well as an arts area. Generally, residential parts are on the upper floors, and communal and teaching spaces on the ground floor.

Designed and detailed to a very high standard by MJP Architects, and beautifully built to a very generous budget, it is also a very green building with a near zero-carbon rating.

In the scheme there is a strong sustainability strategy. This includes several active measures such as a bio- mass boiler, ground source heat-pumps, PV cells and solar panels, as well as passive measures such as air-tightness and insulation exceeding the latest part L regulations.

The building envelope is complicated and airtight, so pre-fabrication was considered for most parts of the elevations and the en-suite shower pods.

The design can be summarised as a series of parallel concrete fin walls which divide the student rooms, which in turn are expressed by wooden boxes arranged around a central courtyard. The café is at the heart of the scheme with a double height glass box.

MJP Architects’ Kendrew Quadrangle is a thoughtful response to both the certainties of tradition and an uncertain future.

MJP collaborated with four artists who produced artworks for different areas of the scheme. Alex Beleschenko produced the café and Blackhall Road glass artworks. His previous collaborations with MJP include Southwark Station, Phoenix Initiative and the Garden Quadrangle also for St John’s College. Other artists include Wendy Ramshaw (gates), Ian Monroe (café screen) nand Langlands and Bell (myoglobin sculpture).

  • Client
    St John's College Oxford
  • Completion
  • Awards
    Civic Trust Award, 2012
    David Steel Sustainable Building Award – best large non-residential development, 2012
    Oxford Preservation Trust Award, 2011
    Dedalo Minosse Award – commendation, 2011
    RIBA Award, 2011
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