Niall McLaughlin Architects' student accommodation strikes a delicate balance between carefully considered response to context and clear architectural identity
Niall McLaughlin Architects for Somerville College
GIA: 2,080 m²
Externally, this scheme manages to strike the delicate balance between a carefully considered and cleverly modelled response to context, and a clear architectural identity and consistent language of its own. Using a blend of hand-laid red brick and lime mortar, the apparent modularity and pared back detailing of the metal window assemblies, and the hard-edged volumetric set-backs at high level mediate between small scale streetscape and larger scale university buildings.
Between these worlds, there is also a rather enjoyable mini-courtyard, with a view through new gates to the street life beyond. The brief for 68 bedrooms and the site proportions dictated the level of spatial efficiency that is granted by double-banked corridors, but the number of single-aspect north-facing rooms has been reduced as much as possible. It is also to the architect’s credit that parts of the CLT structure have been exposed in the circulation spaces.
South Regional Award 2022
See the rest of the South winners here
And all the RIBA Regional Awards here