St Catherine’s College – The Ainsworth Graduate Centre

A new graduate centre designed by Purcell for St Catherine’s College.

(Purcell, 2020)


The contemporary addition to the St Catz campus is intended to complement the architecture of Arne Jacobsen’s original campus design and Stephen Hodder’s later phases of development. St Catherine’s College is one of the University of Oxford’s more recent colleges, and its mix of Grade I and Grade II 1960’s Architecture reflects the Modernist movement of the time.


Purcell’s contemporary addition mirrors the spacious rooms and long rectangular windows of the original buildings, whilst also conforming to the complex and constricted site on which it is set. The result is a very distinctive 3-storey cylindrical building containing a seminar room, common room and multi-use event space. 


The building’s facade uses bronze and stainless steel cladding, whilst the interior features a variety of timbers, referencing Jacobsen’s use of these materials in previous projects on site. This serves to create a harmony between the ‘old’ and the ‘new.’ As well as a reference to other buildings on site, the bronze panels contrast aesthetically with stainless steel panels, which form part of the new student accommodation blocks adjacent to the Ainsworth Centre

Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UJ

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