Wolfson College, Academic Wing

The new Academic Wing at Wolfson College links to the Grade II listed Powel & Moya designed graduate college at Wolfson built in 1970 and includes an integrated entrance and the new Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, as well as seminar and study rooms, cafeteria, and a library extension. The building combines in-situ flat slabs and soaring in-situ roof beams supported on expressed precast band beams which sit upon precast columns. The circular precast columns, are bush-hammered with a white-calcinated exposed aggregate finish, and were cast with shadow gaps to match the existing.

The structurally challenging geometry of the auditorium and seating roof was formed in in-situ concrete with a high-quality exposed finish. The raked seating was constructed with a soffit that curved in elevation and plan. The exposed concrete roof beams fan out from the chimney, cast in four segments with a top shutter to control forming.

The building mirrors the original brutalist architecture but with better thermal performance. The exposed precast band beams and columns are primary load-bearing elements supporting the in-situ flat slab along its perimeter but with a thermally broken connection. The thermal break detail uses exposed stainless steel reinforcement protruding from the precast elements, cast into the in-situ structure along the line of insulation.

The finely detailed expressed concrete provides a durable, low maintenance, finish complementing the original Powell & Moya college.

Completed 2015.

Project Information


Wolfson College


BGS Architects




Quintin Lake

Andy Spain


RIBA South Award 2016
RIBA South Conservation Award 2016
Oxford Preservation Trust Award 2014
RICS Award, Highly Commended 2014