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.