Cohen Quad: the vision

During a weekend of events to mark the formal opening of Cohen Quad, the Principal Architect Alison Brooks, Project Architect Hannah Constantine, and Deputy Bursar Gez Wells were on hand to talk about the design and creation of Cohen Quad.

Guests were invited to watch the video below and then ask questions and discuss the response of students to living on site. Click on the video below to learn all about the vision behind Cohen Quad and how it was realised.

Cohen Quad – The Architects’ Vision from Exeter College, Oxford on Vimeo.

Exeter College takes possession of Cohen Quad

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the College took possession of Cohen Quad on Friday 23rd December after a tremendous final push by all involved in getting the building ready. All those expecting to live and work at Cohen Quad this year will be able to do so from Sunday 8th January, including the students who will be resident there for the rest of the academic year. It has been a long journey and everyone has been incredibly supportive and patient as we have worked round the clock to see the building completed as quickly as possible.

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A completed study-bedroom

The 90 student study-bedrooms are now fully furnished as are the three family kitchens and most of the teaching rooms. We are in the process of putting the final touches to the Learning Commons, Student Common Room and Front Desk and, over the course of Hilary Term, will complete the auditorium and café, expecting to be able to serve food in the café from Monday of 1st Week. At just a 9-minute walk across town, we hope that all those based at the Turl Street site will take time to visit during Hilary Term: Cohen Quad is for all College members, whether they’re resident or not, and all students – graduates, undergraduates, and Williams – are welcome to come and go as they please. Cohen Quad really is our third quad and we are excited about the wonderful spaces and facilities it offers.

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A family kitchen

We know that many of our alumni and neighbours will be keen to visit. We will be in touch with details of opportunities to drop in: right now we’re focussed on getting the building up and running and making preparations for the formal opening on 18th and 19th March 2017 to which all donors will be invited.

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The entrance of Cohen Quad with colonade

It really is a superb building and, with scaffolding and protective covers removed, the light and the quality of the building materials provide a stunning environment for living and working. As the Sunday Times said this week, this is a building to watch in 2017!

 

Student bedrooms on first floor completely finished

Last week, the College team signed off on the first floor student bedrooms as all the construction and snagging was completed!

During the course of the week, mattresses and other soft furnishings have been arriving at Turl Street, and it won’t be long before they are rehoused at Cohen Quad.

The three images below show a student bedroom from three angles – the cupboard wall, against which the bed will be placed, the desk space with its lighting above and below the shelf, and the cupboards and drawers, which will provide storage and will house a fridge in each room.

Each room is around 16 square metres and is en-suite, with one large window and one small window to provide as much natural light as possible.

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The cupboard wall

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The desk space

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The storage space

Cohen Quad family kitchens completed

Last week saw the completion of the family kitchens at Cohen Quad, which now await the arrival of soft furnishings.

These three kitchens, envisaged by Rector Frances Cairncross, provide a central space on each residential floor where students can gather, cook and eat together, and get to know each other better.

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One of the completed family kitchens

The first floor kitchen will be named the “Cairncross Kitchen” at the request of many donors who wished to see Frances honoured at Cohen Quad. The kitchen on the second floor will be named the “McRae Kitchen” in recognition of her husband, Hamish McRae, who played an active role in the life of the College during Frances’s rectorship.

The third floor kitchen is at present unnamed and waiting for a donor who would like to support the style of community and collegiate living that Cohen Quad will offer. If you are interested in sponsoring this family kitchen please call 01865 279662.

 

Contractors put finishing touches on student rooms

Over the last few weeks, Mace (our contractors) have been working to finish specific areas of Cohen Quad ahead of handing the whole site over to us at the end of the calendar year.

Last week, focus was on snagging student bedrooms ahead of moving in furniture and fitting out the three student kitchens.

Two other key pieces of work were to build and install the pigeon holes that will be used by the Cohen Quad residents and to pave the Benson Quad and its amphitheatre steps. Each of these steps will be engraved with the names of donors who gave £7,000 or more during the 700th anniversary year and will provide a wonderful outdoor area adjacent to the café where students can sit out and enjoy a coffee – when it’s not raining of course!

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Paving leading into the amphitheatre steps of Benson Quad 

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The pigeon holes

FitzHugh Auditorium revealed

This roof top picture, kindly taken by local resident Fran Monks earlier today, reveals Cohen Quad’s auditorium.

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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)!

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The internal beams of the FitzHugh Auditorium

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Architect render of the finished Auditorium

Walton Street façade of Cohen Quad revealed

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.

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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.

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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.