Kendrew Quadrangle St John’s College, Oxford Project info

Kendrew Quadrangle

St John’s College, Oxford

Kendrew Quadrangle is a new extension to the College, providing accommodation for under-graduate and post-graduate students, a café, library and archive, artists’ studio and gallery, gym, recreation areas and associated College facilities. This was the third building completed by MJP for St John’s College.

Designed and detailed to a very high standard by MJP Architects, and beautifully built to a very generous budget, it is also a very green building with a near zero-carbon rating.

The design

The quadrangle surrounds a magnificent beech tree and is adjacent to listed buildings and listed walls within a conservation area. These features fundamentally informed the design and construction.

The quadrangle is three sided, open to the South for sunlight. Residential accommodation is on the upper floors for privacy, and communal and teaching spaces are on the ground floor and in the basement. The student rooms surround the massive beech tree, like birds’ nests in its branches. The café is at the heart of the scheme within a glazed pavilion. Around the quad, gardens and small courtyards were formed in the spaces between the new building and its surroundings.

MJP Architects’ Kendrew Quadrangle is a thoughtful response to both the certainties of tradition and an uncertain future.

Collaboration with artists

MJP collaborated with four artists in a series of major commissions, fully integrated with the architecture. Alex Beleschenko (glass works), Wendy Ramshaw (entrance gates), Ian Monroe (cafe screen), and Langlands and Bell designed a sculpture which commemorates the work of biochemist Sir John Kendrew.

Energy efficiency and sustainability

Sustainability was integral to the design strategy, with the College committed to creating an exemplary green building. It achieved ‘Breeam Excellent’ accreditation.

Passive design measures were used to minimise energy demand, including an envelope with a high level of insulation and air-tightness. The remaining energy requirement was supplied as far as possible from renewable sources, including a bio-mass boiler, ground source heat-pumps, PV cells and solar panels. Off-site fabrication was used extensively in the envelope and shower rooms.

  • Client
    St John's College Oxford
  • Completion
  • Awards
    David Steel Sustainable Building Award – best large non-residential development, 2012
    Civic Trust Award, 2012
    Dedalo Minosse Award – commendation, 2011
    Oxford Preservation Trust Award, 2011
    RIBA Award, 2011
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