Somerville College – Catherine Hughes Building

Somerville College

Undergraduate accommodation (Níall McLaughlin Architects, 2017-19)

The Catherine Hughes building had the challenging task of creating a mature design which both recognized the character of the Jericho Conservation Area, whilst also acknowledging the increasing scale and institutional feel of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter development nearby.  Built at the fulcrum of the curve on Walton Street, the Catherine Hughes building sits in close proximity to the Grade II listed Wolfson Building.  In response, Níall McLaughlin Architects creates a design which combines the two: “taking direct prompts from the adjacent buildings and the scale of the neighbouring properties but at the same time offering an ambitious, modern building with a communal feel.”

The multi-storey building itself is comprised of 68 en-suite bedrooms arranged into clusters, with kitchens, a graduate study room, and circulation spaces forming focus points of social activity.  Heavy emphasis is made on the importance of natural light, large windows and open layouts for optimal conditions for both study and rest.  These large windows also provide a view into College life from the public realm. 

Awards: Oxford Preservation Trust Awards 2020 (Certificate).

Somerville College, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HD

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