Pembroke College
Oxford

Five new buildings provide student accommodation, teaching space for music, drama, and conference facilities, and a new lecture theatre at Pembroke College. The scheme also includes two new quadrangles, and semi-submerged café and parking. The site is adjacent to the old medieval city wall and is of historical and archaeological importance.

The brief was to provide flexible open plan spaces at ground and first floor, in some areas, with student accommodation above. To achieve this, we adopted a reinforced concrete frame at the lower levels with a transfer slab to support load bearing masonry with precast floors above. This reduced the overall cost and programme time when compared to a reinforced concrete frame up to roof level.

Site logistics were a key consideration due to the tight city centre site and minimal site storage available. We worked closely with the main contractor on the phasing of the five new buildings to ensure crane time was maximised and deliveries to site could be programmed so they minimised disruption to the surrounding area.

A footbridge links the historic Pembroke College buildings with the new Brewer Street buildings and quadrangle, and is the first new bridge in the city centre in just under a century.

For aesthetic simplicity, a single 9m long sheet glass panel was chosen for the balustrade, supported laterally by a stainless-steel handrail beam following the same structural principles as the deck.

The deck is highly sculptural, yet simple: a hollow monocoque fabrication of welded Corten steel plates to form a box section morphing from triangular into rectangular in cross-section with internal rib strengthening exposed along the soffit to express the natural load paths of the structure. The deck's cross-section was slimmed down to a bare minimum over the road to meet road clearance heights.

The deck is highly sculptural, yet simple: a hollow monocoque fabrication of welded Corten steel plates to form a box section morphing from triangular into rectangular in cross-section with internal rib strengthening exposed along the soffit to express the natural load paths of the structure. The deck's cross-section was slimmed down to a bare minimum over the road to meet road clearance heights.

Completed 2013.

Project Information

Client

Pembroke College

Architect

BGS Architects

Awards

Oxford Preservation Trust Award 2013
IStructE Structural Award, Pedestrian Bridges Award 2013

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