Ripon College, Cuddesdon – Bishop Edward King Chapel

A chapel for a Christian theological college and a resident order of nuns, the Community of St John Baptist (Niall McLaughlin, 2013)

“a building that mediates between the earthly and the celestial to unique poetic effect.” Ellis Woodman

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Although a few miles south of Oxford, this gem of a chapel simply had to be included here: it is too significant and much too beautiful for a visitor to miss. Externally it is a tall, elliptical drum, set on a lawned site among ancient trees and the neo-gothic buildings of the college. It is built in pale Clipsham stone from Rutland, with a smooth-finished base level, a broad middle band laid in a dogtooth pattern with a rough texture, and a crowning clerestory with delicate stone fins. The interior is dominated by a massive glulam timber arched structure, enclosing the single space for worship and creating a continuous ambulatory zone. This structure also arches outwards to support the roof, and filters the light from the clerestory windows to delightful effect.

Shortlisted for the Stirling Prize, 2013; RIBA Award 2013; Civic Trust Award 2014 (Best Project).

References: Moore, Rowan, ‘Bishop Edward King chapel, Ripon College – review’, The Observer, 28 April 2013 [WWW], guardian.com; Salter, Peter, ‘Ark of light’, Architectural Review, April 2013, Vol 223 (Issue 1394), pp.32-46 [WWW];  Steane, Mary Ann, ‘Lightenings: Niall McLoughlin’s Bishop Edward King Chapel’, Architecture Today, 237, April 2013 [WWW]; Woodman, Ellis, ‘Sacred spaces’, Building Design, 26 April 2013, pp.10-15 [WWW], bdonline.co.uk.

Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire, OX44 9EX

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Detail of elevation

bishop edward king chapel plan

Ground floor plan © Niall McLaughlin

bishop edward king chapel section

Cross section © Niall McLaughlin