Regional Studies Centre Oxford


Within a wider masterplan, we designed the Regional Studies Centre as a transparent, delicate pavilion that nestles between the street side and back gardens, marking the west entrance to the campus that it sits within. By presenting an institutional frontage to the street, this building responds to both its domestic and institutional contexts. The centre’s massing steps back at every floor, culminating in a small fifth floor ‘attic storey’. This floor houses the two study rooms and visiting scholar’s apartment.

The Regional Studies Centre’s many-columned, porous appearance and deep eaves make a subtle reference to the sheltering verandahs and tiered forms of vernacular architecture of the region studied within the building. We propose to enrich this dialogue with iconography drawn from the region abstracted and integrated within the façade panelling.

The building has a clear organization of central core around which a series of spaces for informal and formal study offer variety of outlooks and spatial characters. An entrance verandah leads to a reception area leading to the café, which overlooks the University Garden Quad. The large meeting room above the cafe is a kind of piano nobile and vantage point for the entire campus. From here one can see across to the Humanities Department and north along the Scholars Walk.

Our hope would be that this is a ‘jewel building’ whose tiered levels could act as planters and green terraces, drawing the garden upward and softening the context of its Victorian neighbours.

Robert Myers Associates
Skelly & Couch
Richard Griffiths Architects