College unveils quad as vision for its future

An artist’s impression of Exeter College’s proposal for the former Ruskin College site

Exeter College rector Frances Cairncross

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Oxford Times Chief Reporter. Call me on 01865 425434

EXETER College has unveiled its latest plans for the former home of Ruskin College in Walton Street, with a new Oxford quadrangle to be the centrepiece of the redeveloped site.

The college acquired the site for £7m in 2010, following Ruskin College’s relocation to Ruskin Hall in Old Headington.

Exeter says the new site will provide much-needed student accommodation, with 90 study bedrooms proposed along with fellows’ studies, teaching rooms, a cafe and a lecture hall, which will be made available for community events.

It will also house an archive for the college’s special collections.

Exeter College operates across a number of sites across the city, with its main Turl Street campus offering limited space to develop.

Rector of Exeter College, Frances Cairncross, said acquiring the Ruskin site provided the chance to create modern residential accommodation for students and dons in the city centre.

She said: “This is an outstanding opportunity for the college to create a Third Quad, bringing much of our student body closer to our main site.

“As part of this historic arrangement, Exeter and Ruskin will be exploring ways to work together on shared academic, cultural and social activities that will bring closer links between our two student bodies.”

Exeter’s plans went on show yesterday and today at the Walton Street site from 3pm to 7.30pm, with members of the design team attending.

The college says detailed proposals for the site have developed since a public exhibition in December, with a planning application expected to be submitted to Oxford City Council later this month.

It is hoped building work will be completed in time for Exeter College’s 700th anniversary next year.

The college is working with award-winning architect Alison Brooks to develop “a forward-thinking architectural response that reinterprets traditional cloistered learning”.

The memory of Ruskin College will remain, with the original 1913 facade on Walton Street retained and incorporated into the new building and a room being made available to Ruskin College, to give it a small city centre base.

Ruskin College was founded in 1899 to educate working class students in Oxford, first in St Giles and four years later in Walton Street.

In 1912 the original building was replaced with the existing one. Ruskin opened its new £17m building, which includes a library, classrooms and offices, last year.

Comments (1)

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7:01pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Myron Blatz says...

What a wasted opportunity! Instead of yet more student accommodation and university buildings, the old Ruskin College site could have been an opportunity for a major supermarket such as ASDA to have developed the site as a large retail unit for this part of Oxford (and in open competition to the massively over-priced Coop) complete with large customer parking and delivery truck access on the ground floor, and then several floors above - reached by lifts and escalators - for retail use, and perhaps a rooftop cafe for students complete with daybeds, wifi and a range of cash-point machines and on-line connections for that most important part of being a student in Oxford - holidays! It could also have been purchased by the City Council , and re-built as a permanent facility for the homeless in and around the City of Dreaming Councillors ....
What a wasted opportunity! Instead of yet more student accommodation and university buildings, the old Ruskin College site could have been an opportunity for a major supermarket such as ASDA to have developed the site as a large retail unit for this part of Oxford (and in open competition to the massively over-priced Coop) complete with large customer parking and delivery truck access on the ground floor, and then several floors above - reached by lifts and escalators - for retail use, and perhaps a rooftop cafe for students complete with daybeds, wifi and a range of cash-point machines and on-line connections for that most important part of being a student in Oxford - holidays! It could also have been purchased by the City Council , and re-built as a permanent facility for the homeless in and around the City of Dreaming Councillors .... Myron Blatz
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