Balliol College

MJP Architects, Oxford, 1996


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Tower rooms and parapets inspired by Lutyens’ Castle Drogo contrast with the liberal provision of windows 

Tim Soar (website)     Download Original

  • Tower rooms and parapets inspired by Lutyens’ Castle Drogo contrast with the liberal provision of windows    
  • Steel walkway    
  • Students gathered outside Balliol College    
  • Sharp-edged brickwork and corner windows    
  • The theatre forecourt    
  • Covered walkways offer framed views of the surrounding buildings    
  • Open views - the law library by Sir Leslie Martin and Colin St John Wilson is visible across the sports field    
  • Students socialise in one of the shared kitchens    
  • Corridor    
  • The curved wall of the stairwell as seen from the kitchen    
  • Typical study-bedroom    
  • Students have added touches of their own    
  • Staircase    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Section through Block 1    
  • Jowett Walk elevation    
  • Perspective showing a typical study-bedroom    
  • Detail section and plan of staircase    
  • Cut-away isometric and details of staircase    

Series of linked pavilions providing student residencies and public rooms

The design consists of a series of linked pavilions which reflect the suburban residential character of the area, rather than the quadrangular forms of medieval Oxford.

The pavilions, being discreet, make it easy to phase the development. Phase One consists of three pavilions at the west end of the site. Phase Two, completed eight years later, also consists of three pavilions; up to three more are planned to be added in future phases.

Public rooms are on the lower ground floor with a separate circulation system and include a student theatre, seminar rooms, laundry and porter¹s lodge.

Above the pavilions, three storeys of residential accommodation are connected by a system of bridges. Each pavilion has its own staircase, serving groups of seven study bedrooms on each floor which share a kitchen and dining room. Each study bedroom has an en-suite shower and WC.


  • Begun: Nov 1994
  • Completed: Mar 1996
  • Sectors: Education, Residential
  • Total cost: £3M
  • Procurement: JCT 1980 with quantities
  • Address: Balliol College, Jowett Walk, Oxford, OX1 3BJ, United Kingdom

Professional Team