Wadham College Parks Road Oxford OX1 3PN
10 December 2017
Proposed demolition of existing JCR and Goddard Building and erection of new collegiate development comprising an Access Centre and Undergraduate Centre (existing basement to be retained) including 20 accessible student bedrooms and social and academic facilities.
Oxford Civic Society has been impressed by the care which has gone into developing this scheme and indeed this is reflected in the very detailed design and access statement, which is exemplary.
The project is in the heart of the college, and apart from a glimpse of an upper storey from Holywell Street, it is completely outside the public realm. The existing JCR and Goddard buildings, which it is proposed to demolish, contain out-dated facilities and are of limited architectural merit and historic interest. The Access and Undergraduate Centre which replace them will create important new facilities.
Inserting a large uncompromisingly modern building into the midst of ancient ones can be controversial. On the other hand, the new building can serve as a foil for the old, and vice-versa. The overall design is refreshing and bold. We think that it is a good scheme and deserves to succeed. Our main reservation is that on some facades the decorative cladding (at least as presented in the application) is visually very striking and might or might not succeed in enhancing the external appearance. This is not a major issue. Minor adjustments could be made if necessary in finalising the details of the scheme.