The Redefining St Hilda’s Design Competition sought an outstanding team to transform the architectural quality of the College’s front-of-house buildings.
The new development, which is linked to the College’s 125th anniversary campaign, includes new social and teaching spaces and accommodation, will express the College’s evolving identity and speak to St Hilda’s exceptional setting on the River Cherwell, opening up captivating views of Oxford’s famous skyline.
St Hilda’s College was one of the original group of five colleges founded at Oxford at the end of the nineteenth century with the progressive political aim of opening up university education to women. Since 2008, the College has admitted both women and men. It now has one of the highest proportions of international undergraduate students of any college within the University.
Nineteen talented practices were invited to submit an Expression of Interest to the College. The shortlist of five teams was announced in October 2015, with concept designs being released in January 2016; both stories were widely reported in the architectural media. After a widely-attended selection panel day, the College’s Governing Body selected Gort Scott as the winner.
St Hilda’s College Principal, Professor Sir Gordon Duff, said:
‘Gort Scott won the College over because their concept design displayed the most intuitive and natural fit to our organic site. Though this initial design will be refined and developed in the coming months, the scheme is sympathetic to the garden feel of the College: opening-up new vistas and allowing the space to flow. It also positions the College more elegantly on Cowley Place, improving St Hilda’s visibility within Oxford.
‘This will be a defining project for the College – energising and inspirational – giving St Hilda’s the opportunity to make an assured architectural statement and contribute to the much-celebrated Oxford cityscape.’
The College are now working with Gort Scott to develop the winning concept, and construction is due to begin in July 2017.