Kloppenburg Room formally opened

On Friday 17 March the Rector Professor Sir Rick Trainor was delighted to welcome Henry and Cheryl Kloppenburg to Cohen Quad to open formally the Kloppenburg Room. The event took place ahead of the formal opening of Cohen Quad and the associated celebrations, which occurred over the weekend of 18 and 19 March.

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Cheryl Kloppenburg, Rick Trainor and Henry Kloppenburg at the formal opening

Henry, who came to Exeter in 1968 to read Law as a Rhodes Scholar from Saskatchewan province, Canada, made a generous gift together with his wife, Cheryl, to the Cohen Quad development. The College was therefore delighted to name one of the larger seminar rooms in their honour.

Situated just off the south colonnade near the entrance hall of Cohen Quad, the room looks out onto Worcester Place and features the original 1918 windows from the retained façade. The room has already been used extensively by Exeter fellows for seminars in Hilary term, and it was used further during the celebration weekend as postgraduate students and fellows spoke about their current research to the guests who attended the events.

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Fellow in English Jeri Johnson gives a lecture in the Kloppenburg Room

We are very grateful for the generosity of Henry and Cheryl, who have already pledged their ongoing support to fund the College’s fellowship in Politics, currently held by Dr Michael Hart. This is great news for all future students as it means that the teaching of Politics at Exeter is guaranteed going forwards.

William Morris carpet unveiled at Cohen Quad

Just outside Cohen Quad’s FitzHugh Auditorium is a wonderful, light foyer where people gather before going into a lecture or concert or before attending a seminar in the adjacent Maddicott Room. From the earliest design concepts for this area, the wall facing the Maddicott Room was designed and built to fit the College’s stunning carpet created by its renowned former student, the designer and artist William Morris.

Originally believed to be from the Kelmscott Manor estate – home to William Morris from 1871 until his death in 1896 – the carpet was, until recently, laid on the floor of the Rector’s Lodgings. When thinking about how we might tie the history and heritage of the College, which is so evident at Turl Street, into Cohen Quad, the architects proposed that the carpet be hung on public display.

Earlier this month this vision was realised when the College maintenance team climbed a scaffold, affixed the carpet to the wall and unrolled it, with the lower portions safely stored behind protective glazing.

It is a stunning addition to the building and gives the space outside the FitzHugh Auditorium character and colour, further enhancing this wonderful building.

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Exeter family celebrates the opening of Cohen Quad

On the afternoon of Saturday 14 January the Exeter College family celebrated Cohen Quad opening for students, as well as officially opening the Student Common Room.

Although the formal Cohen Quad opening events will not be until mid-March, this was a wonderful occasion to mark informally the moment when all the resident students were finally living and studying in Cohen Quad.

The Rector expressed his thanks to the architect, Alison Brooks, and the project architect, Hannah Constantine, for creating such a wonderful space for the College. He also paid tribute to the tireless work of Gez Wells, Deputy Bursar, while also noting his birthday that day with a birthday cake and leading a chorus of “Happy Birthday”. He finished by thanking the students for their patience during the delays and encouraging them to make the most of their new building.

The outgoing JCR President Harry Williams, the new JCR President Dan Smith, and the current MCR President Sandra Ionescu said a few words in response to the Rector and then walked over to the Student Common Room to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

The Cohen Quad Student Common Room, which is adjacent to the Dakota Café and below the Learning Commons, is a space for all students and has been furnished with comfy chairs, a TV, and board games. Over the coming weeks the students will make it more their own space and it will become a hub for undergraduate, graduate, and Williams students alike.

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The Rector, Harry Williams, Dan Smith and Sandra Ionescu each spoke at the event

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The Student Common Room is formally opened

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The event was well attended by students, staff, fellows and alumni

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

South cloister arches in place

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.

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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.

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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.

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Cohen Quad – a quick (visual) recap

It’s been over 18 months now since the original Ruskin College buildings were demolished, the façade anchored in place, and 14,200 tons of earth removed in 710 lorry loads. Today, much of the core structure is completed, the auditorium is in place, and the glazing and roofing are now being put in place.

Each week, Fran Monks (Friend of Exeter) has taken a photograph of the site from the roof of her home in Worcester Place. We’ve put them all together in a time-lapse video which you can view here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYRJHKd7-CU

Watch as we excavate into the basement, look out for the arrival of the big red crane, see the creation of the arched colonnade, view the construction of each floor, and be amazed at the building of the auditorium with its signature wish-bone rafters! The video finishes with most of the building swathed in weatherproof plastic, but you can still catch a glimpse of the glazing and rimex roofing.

Progress report: Cohen Quad is watertight and works have begun internally

We are pleased to report that work at Cohen Quad is progressing well and the main site activities are now focused on fitting out the building’s contents.

One of the last windows to be fitted – an impressive dormer window on the fourth floor with exceptional views over Jericho – was installed in March and the building is now fundamentally watertight. This has allowed the internal fit-out to begin, including the interior joinery and plaster boarding.

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The dormer window with its exceptional views over Jericho

The wiring has been completed in the basement and on the ground floor and next week work will begin on the interior stonework on these floors. Meanwhile the electricians have moved to the first floor as they work their way up the building.

On the outside the first Rimex metal roof tiles have been fitted to the building’s exterior. These will give Cohen Quad its distinctive metallic roof and will also cover the exterior of some walls. Panel by panel the exterior of Cohen Quad will take shape and come the end of June the large crane that has dominated the site for many months will be removed, making it possible to see clearly how the finished building will look.

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Fitting the Rimex metal roof tiles