We have exposed and created unique spaces within the existing fabric; for instance the historic ceiling in the hall was skilfully restored to its original splendour by craftsmen and now shows an incredible level of detail that was not previously visible. We have created a new U-shaped banquette seat in the cafe which was a surprise discovery when opening up the existing building and the Tower has also been fully refurbished to provide modern tutor rooms within the historic architecture.
The removal of the existing cramped Victorian kitchens created the opportunity for new cafe and bar, which since opening has been eagerly used by students throughout the day. A new stone floor, which has a memory of the previous pattern of walls, connects the cafe space to the new atrium and out onto the external sunken terrace.
The new building is designed to have the minimum of impact on existing views to and from the historic context and is almost entirely invisible from the Quad. From Mansfield Road the building is a considered contemporary addition to the college with its simple form, material and articulation taking cues from the existing Champneys building. Full height frameless glazed panels are used whenever connecting to the existing building to clarify the historic and modern additions as well as bringing light into the plan and allowing views through the building. A new feature stair and lift rationalises a series of existing changes of level and facilitates improved links to the historic buildings including the Chapel and Dining Hall.
"The awards are OPT's opportunity to give prominent local recognition to projects, large and small, and to recognise the teams that make them happen. They illustrate the vital role that positive design has across our community and how improvements to our physical environment shape the city". Debbie Dance, Director of the Oxford Preservation Trust.
The Best New Building accolade awarded to East Range therefore recognises the projects positive impact on the setting of Mansfield College; college life; and its presence on Mansfield Road and within Oxford. This project forms phase one of a wider estates strategy at the Grade II* listed Mansfield College, Oxford. We are currently developing designs for stage 2 - a new Institute of Human Rights facility and much needed additional student accommodation.