“Named after the late former Principal of Somerville College, the Catherine Hughes building provides 68 study bedrooms and a graduate reading room on the ground floor. The multi-storey structure is situated in the college’s old service yard and is designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects.
This high-quality accommodation has become an integral part the immediate community, simultaneously possessing a character of its own as an ambitious and modern structure with enjoyable internal spaces and a communal feel. But, also complementing existing nearby developments, including the recently refurbished Grade II listed Wolfson building and the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter development. The result is a valuable addition to the college and also a welcome addition to the existing urban grain.”
The external walls of the development are constructed using traditional hand-laid brickwork. The selection of Ibstock Reigate Purple bricks was carefully considered, considering its red tones to best reflect the neighbouring buildings and with the articulated brickwork elements around generous windows providing a rhythm to the overall façade. Framed setbacks at third floor level also provide variety to the roof line whilst emphasising the building’s alignment with key levels on the adjacent Penrose Building.
Student residents were vastly impressed by the modern facilities on offer, alongside the airy and comfortable ambiance achieved throughout, seeing the development provide an ideal eye-catching environment for both study and rest.
“The Catherine Hughes Building was a substantial investment for Somerville College, so it was as important as ever to provide a suitable choice of design and brick options to best suit the required aesthetic for the building specifically and the local area,” explains Irina Hughes, Design Advisor at Ibstock.
“The project was particularly important as it enabled the college to fulfil its promise to offer every undergraduate a room on its central site for the duration of their initial studies. Now, students, professors and visitors to the college are able to witness first-hand the architectural masterpiece that is the Catherine Hughes building, its eye-catching geometry and red toned façade for generations to come.”