This roof top picture, kindly taken by local resident Fran Monks earlier today, reveals Cohen Quad’s auditorium.
The Auditorium (front right of picture) with its distinctive curved roof
Now completely clear of scaffolding, the stone work and Rimex tiling are visible giving a further sense of the beautiful scope and nature of Alison Brooks’ design for Cohen Quad.
Internally, the stone cladding is being completed while ensuring that the wishbone glulam beams remain visible as a stunning feature of the space.
The auditorium, to be known as the FitzHugh Auditorium, will be able to seat 110 people for a lecture or concert and 100 people for a banquet. We’re looking forward to being able to host symposiums, concerts, student performances, gala dinners, and even film nights here and are sure that the students will come up with even more ideas (perhaps the next Burns Night Ceilidh)!
The internal beams of the FitzHugh Auditorium
Architect render of the finished Auditorium
Last Wednesday (14th September) was a big moment at Cohen Quad.
During the day the scaffolding was gradually removed from the front façade on Walton Street, revealing the stunning new roof and the beautifully cleaned stonework. The original character of the building has been retained, as planned, and it was generally agreed by all the onlookers that the new roof with its dormer windows added to the aesthetics of the building.
The building positively glowed in the afternoon sunlight and the muted tones of the roof blended in well with the brickwork of the local housing.
As can just be made out, the front door has been lowered to street level and recessed so that visitors walk under the opening arch before being admitted into the new quadrangle.
Work will begin shortly to tidy up the footpaths and, in the next few weeks, we’ll see the scaffolding come down along Worcester Place.
This week we’ve been excited to see some of the exterior of Cohen Quadrangle! As scaffolding starts to come down the upper floors have been revealed on both Walton Street and Worcester Place.
You can begin to get a sense of the dramatic new roof and dormer windows and how they curve into the brickwork of the original Edwardian building. The chequerboard look of the roof is very clear and striking but remains very muted in colour, as planned.
The views over Jericho are stunning, particularly from the full glass dormer which can be seen in the picture above, just where the scaffolding restarts along Worcester Place.
With clear views over the Blavatnik School of Government and the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, this dormer window provides a special recess on the top floor in which you can reflect over the dreaming spires.
Work continues apace and it won’t be long before even more of the building will be visible.
As the Fellows start to think about the year ahead, four are preparing to move into Cohen Quad and will reside in the stunning Fellows’ Sets on the third floor of the building.
A Fellow’s Set – work in progress!
Alongside Philipp Kukura (we posted about his impressions and expectations of Cohen Quad in July), Christina de Bellaigue, Jackson Fellow in Modern History, will also be moving to Cohen Quad.
Having recently visited the site, she said: “I’ve just been down to Cohen Quad with Gez [Wells, the Deputy Bursar] and am so impressed. It really is stunning and will be a hugely invigorating space for us all to work and teach in”.
Another Fellow’s Set
And how a Fellow’s Set will look when completed
We can tell she’s really excited as she has opted to move from her lovely set on the Front Quad at Turl Street and is looking forward to teaching some of her tutorials in the Neil Blair Special Collections Reading Room where students will be able to study from our own archives and special collections.
The Neil Blair Special Collections Reading Room
And how the Reading Room will look when finished
Over the last week, some of the scaffolding has been removed from the south cloister of Cohen Quad, revealing the upper levels of the building.
The Rimex tiling is in place and the checker-board pattern is clearly established along the exterior walls. It really highlights the stunning dormer windows which protrude and will flood the internal corridors and rooms with natural light.
We are also now able to see the beautiful curve of the roof-line as the tiles wrap around the roof and down the walls, creating a seamless cloak around the building.
Five of Exeter’s Fellows will move into Cohen Quad later this year. They are excited by the elegant and modern design and also by the Quad’s close proximity to the humanities hub at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter and the science area.
Professor Philipp Kukura, Exeter’s Fellow in Physical Chemistry, will be among the five. He visited the building site recently and commented: ‘I cannot wait to welcome and teach my first tutorials in this wonderful new space!
‘Cohen Quad will have a transformative influence not only on Exeter College, but on the collegiate University as a whole. As important as the historical buildings are in making Oxford what it is, as critical will it be that the University provides living and teaching space that is suitable for the 21st century and truly competitive on the world stage.
‘I cannot remember visiting a higher education building that felt so futuristic, but so appropriate and inspiring at the same time.’
Professor Kukura’s teaching room will be on the third floor of Cohen Quad, adjacent to other fellows’ rooms and the Senior Common Room.
A fellow’s teaching room on the third floor of Cohen Quad
A fellow’s teaching room on the third floor of Cohen Quad
Architect’s render of a finished teaching room
Architect’s render of the completed Quad with the fellows’ teaching rooms and SCR, with their floor-to-ceiling windows and sloping roof, visible on the third floor
The final task of the Cohen Quad crane, before it was removed from the site at the end of June, was to hoist the wooded (glulam) arches of the south cloister into place.
Running west across the site, from the Porters’ Lodge to the Learning Commons, these magnificent arches form a covered colonnade across the quad. Their impressive height continues the sense of space that is achieved in the Porters’ Lodge and mirrored in the Learning Commons.
The cloister itself is glazed – at least two out of the three Oxford terms are decidedly wet! – and the sunlight just pours into this space which draws you further in.
The design of the arches – and the perspective they create – forms a visually stunning route that leads to teaching rooms and out onto the Benson (south) Quad itself.