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The Queen's College seeks architect for revamp of Seventies classic
A MULTI-million pound project to revamp a modernist landmark for students has been launched by an Oxford University college.
The Queen’s College is planning to restore 40-year-old Florey building, home to 78 first-year undergraduates, and has announced a competition to find a new architect to work on the project.
Dr Andrew Timms, fellow and director of development at the college in High Street, told the Oxford Mail: “The building is 40 years old so this is about the time you would do a major refurbishment.
“The college is committed to doing a refurbishment and upgrade of the building in due course.
“We want to upgrade things like the technical services, the fabric of the building. We want to try and make the building more environmentally sustainable so it is more efficient to operate.
“We are trying to improve the general setting of the building’s approach and entrance.”
He could not confirm how much it would cost, but said it would be a multi-million pound project.
The Grade II-listed building off St Clement’s, in East Oxford, built in 1971, was designed by controversial British architect of the post-war period James Stirling.
It was commissioned by Lord Howard Florey, the Queen’s College Provost and a Nobel Prize winner.
Dr Timms added: “The refurbishment will considerably increase the level of comfort and general standard of accommodation; the building has not been without its problems over the years.
“Whatever we do will make life much more pleasant for our students.”
He said work depended on getting planning permission, but building on the site could start in 2015.
Dr Timms said: “The building has a very high profile in the architectural community.
“It is regarded as one of the great post-war modernist buildings and so there is a lot of interest in it.”
Queen’s College home bursar Dr Linda Irving-Bell, said: “Queen’s wants to conserve and upgrade the building and set an example in energy design and sustainability.”
Malcolm Reading, organiser of the competition to find an architect, said: “The building was the product of two titans of modern culture, Lord Florey, who wanted a distinguished building to attract the best minds, and James Stirling, who was regarded as the most brilliant architect of his generation.
“This is a fascinating project because it needs to balance a respect for Stirling’s original vision with a high-quality upgrade of fabric and services.”
The deadline for expression of interest is Wednesday, October 9.
The shortlist will be announced in the autumn and the winning team is expected to be announced in February, 2014. For more details visit competitions.malcolmreading.co.uk/florey
- Throughout October, Exeter College, in Turl Street, is celebrating its 700th birthday and there is a launch dinner on Wednesday, October 16.
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