We are delighted that the Oxford City planners have approved samples of the brick and stone that we will use in the construction of Cohen Quadrangle. This news completes the final stage of the materials application process; while the planners had previously approved our designs on paper, they required a sample of each material to be presented, approved and then set as a benchmark for the rest of construction.
The bricks used on the south gable wall mirror those that make up the retained 1913 facade of Cohen Quadrangle. The new bricks (3000 in total) are Imperial standard, hand-made and hand-cut in Britain in the traditional way. They are being made by Buckinghamshire firm HG Matthews, founded in 1923, who often work with Keble College to maintain its distinctive red-brick appearance.
Once made, some of the bricks are dipped in manganese on a gradient which adds the subtle colour differences, shown in the photograph below.
The College has retained all decorative stonework that was part of Ruskin College’s side wall. It has been cleaned and restored and will be reinstalled as the new brick wall is constructed. This stonework includes window surrounds, cornices and the raised decorative band near the top of the wall, known as a dental course.
All of Cohen Quad’s new stone comes from Hartham Park Quarry near Bath. It will be cut in Oxfordshire and transported to Cohen Quadrangle for installation.
You can read more about Cohen Quad’s stone in our previous post on the topic.
Hannah Constantine, architect at Alison Brooks Architects, reiterated her delight that Exeter has been able to re-use some of the stone from the former Ruskin College building, and that the new bricks will mirror those retained from the old site. “It has always been important for our firm to create strong links between the history of the Ruskin College site and the 21st century building we have designed. Reusing decorative stonework and commissioning the Imperial bricks helps us to fulfil this vision while at the same time creating strong aesthetic appeal.”