Stunning roof revealed

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.

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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.

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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.

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20160822 Rimex tiling from interior window

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:

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.



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.


Fitting the Rimex metal roof tiles

Supporter Stories: Amanda McDonald and Friends

Amanda McDonald came up to Exeter in 1991 to read English.  She has many happy memories of her time at the College and has remained in touch with many of her Exeter friends.

Sadly, Amanda is now very ill and her friends have decided to come together to commemorate her time at Exeter by naming a student bedroom in her honour at Cohen Quad.  Together, they will donate £10,000 to make the dream a reality.

Charlotte Morgan (1991, English) said: “Amanda has been my dearest friend since College days.  We love to imagine future students gossiping, drinking bad coffee and generally having the time of their lives in ‘her’ room, just as we did all those years ago.”

Architect’s render of a student bedroom at Cohen Quad

Amanda returned to Exeter this week with her husband Dean, her father Alan and three of her greatest College friends.  After lunch, she and Dean renewed their wedding vows in the Chapel, where they were married in July 2010.  At the end of their visit, they drove to Walton Street to take a look at Cohen Quad as it goes up.

Amanda said: “Exeter College is a very special place for me and I’m thrilled with the idea of the Amanda McDonald Room. It means so much to me and my family that I will be remembered in this way.”

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Amanda and Charlotte finishing Finals, summer 1994

After leaving university Amanda went on to a build a successful career in marketing and advertising, becoming MD of a marketing agency in the Midlands.  Her insights into community marketing have proved invaluable for us at Exeter and we’d like to thank her for sharing her inspiring ideas about building vibrant alumni communities, many of which shaped this very blogsite.

If you would like to make a donation towards the Amanda McDonald Bedroom, please contact us.

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The Exeter College Chapel, where Dean and Amanda were married in 2010

Invest in Cohen Quad

The generous support of alumni and Friends of Exeter has enabled us to purchase the former Ruskin College site on Walton Street, enlist award-winning architects to produce an innovative design for the new campus, and begin to make this vision a reality during construction.

New brochure outlining remaining opportunities for support

The total cost of purchasing, designing and building Cohen Quadrangle is expected to be £46m. To date, over £17m has been given in donations from Exeter alumni and Friends out of a fundraising goal of £18m. This means that we are just £1m short of our target!

New brochure outlining remaining opportunities for support

Be part of Exeter’s future! This is your last opportunity to support the quadrangle as it enters its final few months of construction. Donations of all sizes are extremely welcome, and examples of what your gifts could achieve are set out below.

Student bedroom

There will be 90 student bedrooms at Cohen Quadrangle, all with en-suite bathrooms, with views looking out across Jericho, North Oxford, Worcester College and beyond.

A donation of £10,000 will name a student bedroom (with a plaque outside the door honouring your support) as you direct. Click here to read about two Exonians who have done exactly this.

Student bedroom

South Quadrangle steps

The amphitheatre-style steps in Cohen Quad’s South Quadrangle are a sun-trap, providing an attractive outside seating area for Exonians during the summer months. The steps lead down to the Dakota Cafe and up to the Porters’ Lodge and main entrance, forming an important pathway through the site.

A donation of £7,000 will see your name engraved on a step in the South Quadrangle as a visible marker of your support of the new building.

The steps in the South Quadrangle, leading down to the Dakota Cafe

Chair in the auditorium

Cohen Quad’s auditorium will be Exeter’s first above-ground lecture and performance venue.  It is a large, multi-purpose space that offers modern facilities for a wide range of activities.

A donation of £2,000 will ensure there is a chair named in your honour in this exciting part of Cohen Quadrangle.

Lecture Theatre
The auditorium

There are opportunities to invest in other parts of Cohen Quad, too. To see the full range of projects to support such as the Cairncross Kitchen and the Maddicott and Eltis Rooms, please click here.

To make or to discuss a donation, please contact Development Director Katrina Hancock.

Views From The Top

The Alumni and Development Office team were fortunate to visit Cohen Quadrangle on a gloriously sunny autumn day. Here are some of our photographs from the top to brighten your Wednesday.

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Looking north from the top of Cohen Quad – you can see the Radcliffe Observatory and the new Blavatnik School of Government in the distance
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The top floor of Cohen Quadrangle with its distinctive curved roof
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This is the highest part of the original Edwardian facade of Ruskin College
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View! The large building to the left of the photo is the Oxford University Press on Walton Street
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It seems a shame to fill the walls in when there’s a view like this! – but you can imagine how lovely North Oxford will look out of these dormer windows on the third floor
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This space will be the Senior Common Room. To the right of the photo there will be rooms for teaching and study. Behind where the photographer is standing to take this picture there will be a roof garden
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Looking across the top of the site from east to west
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A fully-fitted bathroom pod being lowered into the second floor at Cohen Quad
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The Exeter Alumni and Development Office team at Cohen Quad

Heavy Metal at Cohen Quadrangle

As promised, here is a pre-weekend update on the steel roof trusses at Cohen Qudrangle.

What is a roof truss?  It’s a structural framework designed to bridge the space above a room and to provide support for a roof.  Ours are made of steel and are now being installed at the site.  Excitingly, this means the full shape of the roof-line has become clear for the first time:

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Steel roof cladding now showing the curved roof-line. Image by Fran Monks.

In the picture above you can see how metal wall framing and stone cladding has also begun.

Deputy Bursar Gez Wells pointing out the steel roof trusses of the top floor

In other news, glue-laminated spruce (“glulam” for short) is now being produced for Cohen Quad in a factory near Amsterdam. Made of individual laminations of solid timber glued together, glulam is larger and longer than standard logs. It is therefore perfect for use in both our South Cloister colonnade and as the timber frame for the auditorium.

The Deputy Bursar will shortly be asked to approve the glulam’s moisture content – then it will be shipped across to Oxford ready for installation.

Don’t tell me that we don’t keep you fully updated on all that is happening on Oxford’s most exciting building site!

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Architect’s render of the South Cloister colonnade, made of glulam, leading off the Porters’ Lodge and main entrance.
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Architect’s early designs of the auditorium.
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Auditorium with its distinctive curved glulam roof.