Christ Church – Visitor Centre

A transformation of the historic thatched barn situated in Christ Church Meadows into a new Visitor Centre, complete with a shop and café.

(Purcell, 2020)


In 2020, Christ Church College opened their new Visitor’s Centre. Designed by Purcell Architects and built by Beard Construction, the centre has been constructed around an early 19th century thatched barn, which has been used as storage facilities for many years. This was extended and refurbished using traditional building forms and materials to ensure the new additions look integrated within the rural setting. This includes the distinctive thatched-roof which is unique within the City of Oxford

©Ross Hartland

The new centre includes a ticket office, a shop, visitor toilets, a barn for conferences and other uses with a commercial kitchen and server area, and staff offices. This has enabled Christ Church’s 13th Century Chapter House, the location of the existing shop, to be restored to a space better suited for its original purpose.


The Christ Church campus sits next to the Grade I listed Meadow which is grazed on by longhorn cattle. Civil War Archaeology below ground and its location adjacent to the Oxford flood plain presented several design challenges. Regardless, the design of the centre has successfully reinvented a space which has sat underutilized for many years, and which will hopefully provide enjoyment for the public for many more to come.

Awards: OPT Award 2021

Christ Church, St. Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1DP

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