Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre

Niall McLaughlin Architects, Oxford, 2017

 

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The auditorium is expressed in the external composition by a curved clerestory element of vertical stone fins alternating with glazing 

Nick Kane     Download Original

  • The auditorium is expressed in the external composition by a curved clerestory element of vertical stone fins alternating with glazing    
  • The building has been designed as a theatre in a garden    
  • The large mirror-lined studio space    
  • The building consists of seminar rooms, more informal study spaces and an auditorium-cum-lecture theatre    
  • The ceilings are formed of grids of timber joists and beams    
  • The theatre is framed by a high stone screen that rises to allow clerestory light into the space    
  • The fins incorporate pockets for the doors so that they can disappear, and appear at the push of a button to separate the spaces when the auditorium is in lecture mode    
  • Materials are kept simple: stone flooring with some exposed stone walls and other elements alternating with timber joinery and columns    
  • Spaces are light and airy    
  • Full-height glazing     
  • General arrangement plan    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Section AA    
  • Section BB    
  • Auditorium detail section    
  • Seminar room detail section    

Níall McLaughlin’s building at an Oxford college combines graceful Classical lines with practicality.

A striking feature of this building, which is located at Worcester College, Oxford, is a huge portal/proscenium window, framed in fins of Clipsham stone. This window fronts and floods with light a large mirror-lined studio space for dance, yoga, or even, if the huge glazed panels are rolled back, for impromptu theatre performances.

As well as this studio space, the building consists of seminar rooms, more informal study spaces and an auditorium-cum-lecture theatre, laid out as a quarter-circle on plan. 

The auditorium is expressed in the external composition by a curved clerestory element of vertical stone fins alternating with glazing. This sits above a similarly stone-arcaded west façade on a stone-faced base, opening out west onto the games pitches. The west façade is symmetrical in composition with a central set of steps leading up to a loggia flanked by the windows of the two seminar rooms.

The main entrance is set back on the south side, almost suppressed to the right past a blank flanking wall of the studio block and service core. To the right is a so-called ‘e-hub’, furnished with a mix of chair, desk and table set-ups for a range of informal, self-directed learning. Ahead and to the left, a curve of internally expressed stone vertical fins marks the back of the lecture auditorium. Full-height oak doors can be folded back flush into them, allowing the auditorium and foyer to form one seamless space outside of events.

Blinds are integrated into all glazed openings, allowing for the black-boxing or flooding with light of the auditorium and other spaces, depending on need. Inside the auditorium, curved banks of tooled oak benches with pull-down desks descend to a small, shallow stage.

The site is within a flood zone, which required the design to follow strict guidance from the Environment Agency. As a result the building has been lifted above the ground to allow water to pass beneath through perforations within the façade in the event of a flood.

Data

  • Begun: Jan 2015
  • Completed: Jan 2017
  • Floor area: 846m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £8.9M
  • Procurement: JCT Design and Build 2011
  • Address: 1 Walton Street, Oxford, OX1 2HB, United Kingdom

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