Ground broke last week at Keble College Acland Site in Oxford. The ceremony was attended by Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson FRSE. Our design team were also in attendance alongside the construction team from BAM, major donors to the college, Keble Fellows, staff and students.

Anthony Nagle (Construction Director, BAM) presented the engraved ceremonial spade to Mr Peter Shone Trustee of the H B Allen Charitable Trust which has made a capital grant of £25million in support of the project. The Vice-Chancellor put the spade to good use and broke the ground at the old Acland Hospital site.

The Ceremony was preceded by a lunch in the Warden's Lodgings and an address by the Vice-Chancellor, who applauded the project and the significance of the construction of the H B Allen Centre, not only for the College but also for the University as a whole.

Background demolition is continuing on the site, with the building due for completion in 2018.

The scheme will provide a mix of facilities that combines residential, communal, teaching and research facilities into a single complex including 230 rooms for graduate students, café, library, teaching rooms, 120 seat lecture theatre, exhibition space, research facilities, a gym, and a twenty-four bedroom "research hotel" for visiting academics. One of the occupants of the research space will be Professor Paul Newman's Mobile Robotics Group.

The design incorporates the 1897 Grade II listed building by Thomas Jackson. The strategy developed by Rick Mather Architects maximises the use of the entire site. By developing around the perimeter of the site, it follows Keble's original Butterfield approach, creating a large central open space - Keble's 'Sixth Quad'. Rick Mather also designed two previous, award winning buildings for Keble College - the ARCO building, completed in 1995 and Sloane Robinson building completed in 2002.

"Rick Mather Architects have already designed two award winning buildings for Keble of which we are very proud. Their proposal offers a 21st Century reinterpretation of the traditional Oxford Quad that meets or exceeds all elements of the brief." Roger Boden, Bursar, Keble College