St Cross College
Student accommodation and college facilities (Niall McLaughlin Architects, 2017)
A new L-shaped building by NMLA completes the West Quad of St Cross College, providing ensuite student accommodation and college facilities. McLaughlin’s characteristic deep, chamfered window reveals give both lightness and heavy modelling. The fragmented form, with projecting and receding volumes, resembles a slightly random stack of boxes. But this is far from random, with 48 study bedrooms organised into ‘clusters’ with 4 rooms per floor separated by staircases and shared kitchens, forming sub-units of the larger complex. The nested hierarchy of space and identity recalls the social architectural theories of Christopher Alexander.
In Pusey street, the smooth ashlar of the new buildings sits above a contrasting rubble stone wall, while its narrow bays complement the verticality of its neighbour, the gothic Pusey Chapel, especially looking east along the street.
Also included in the new block are a lecture theatre, common room, a library, seminar rooms, staff room, bike store, and a café with kitchen. As a graduate college funded by the university, St Cross has limited opportunity to host conferences, so this high quality accommodation is principally for students who will enjoy it year-round.
St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LZ (faces onto Pusey Street and Pusey Lane)