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Bridging Centuries: Pembroke College Oxford

Bridging Centuries: Pembroke College Oxford

Bridging Centuries: Pembroke College Oxford


Berman, Alan and John Church, James Roach. Bridging Centuries: Pembroke College Oxford

Artifice Books on Architecture. 2016

Book ID: 94286

Oxford University has had a formative role in shaping the city's uniquely dense historic fabric. With increased demand for development and the neglect of abandoned, poor quality buildings--previously housing tanneries, breweries and slaughterhouses-a national competition for the expansion of Oxford's centuries-old Pembroke College was initiated and won by Berman Guedes Stretton Architects. Known for its sympathetic approach to architecture, both in the firm's extensive experience with listed buildings and its deference for maximum functionality, the winning design comprises a human scale development of stepped quads, conference facilities and housing. Bridging Centuries outlines the genesis of the project in relation to Pembroke College's extensive history and the development's aspirations: to be innovative, useful and respectful of its context. The book discusses how the College has played a major part in rejuvenating this area of industrial decline while simultaneously integrating itself within the context of Lutyen's neighbouring Campion Hall and surrounding 1960s buildings. A major part of the project's success lies in the practice's 'no surprises' approach and dedication to two years of bi-monthly consultations with the college's user group, aided by the extensive use of 3-D computer visualisations. Issues nonetheless arose with the discovery of rich ancient ruins and the addition of a new bridge measuring a mere 150 mm thick. Uniquely, the book also offers great insight into the financial planning of the project and how, step by step, this informed various elements of the design.
The scheme is reflective of Berman Guedes Stretton Architect's consistent clarity of vision, creative thinking and dedication to uncomplicated, detailed design. The simple elegance and logic of their work paired with their extensive historical and theoretical knowledge has recently won the firm two RIBA awards, numerous listed building project commissions and clients such as the Natural History Museum, Imperial College London and the NHS.

160 pp. English Cl.