The first of the new accommodation blocks at the Master’s Field has been completed and students have moved in.
On Tuesday 7 May 2019, graduate students who were living in Martin and Dellal buildings moved into Block A, so that demolition of Martin and Dellal can begin. Block A (to be renamed in due course) will eventually be an undergraduate block, along with the four others that are being built in phase one of the project (for which there is an overview here). The demolition of Martin and Dellal will make way for graduate accommodation blocks that will be built in phase two.
‘The new building is fantastic!’ says Alice Evatt (DPhil Philosophy), who is one of the new occupants. ‘It’s light, airy, gets plenty of sun, and has a really fresh feeling. There are lots of communal living spaces, which makes it a really friendly place to live. The architecture is great and you can tell a lot of thought has gone in to it. Just like Oxford, the building design respects tradition, drawing inspiration from the Ashmolean’ — the panels on the façade imitate a weave design used on the frieze of the Ashmolean Museum — ‘while also taking a bold step into the future.’
The rooms are grouped in clusters of four to six around a shared space with a table and a kitchen. Each study bedroom has a sleeping area, and a seating area by the window with a well-lit desk; a bathroom fits neatly by the outer door, opposite wardrobe space. The windows are large and many of the rooms enjoy views on to the Master’s Field. Doors between each cluster of rooms allow students to open up their space to be sociable with those in other clusters if they wish.
Already the rooms are proving popular. Domestic Manager Keeley Mortimer – who, with others including Buildings Manager Toby Christiensen, was heavily involved in readying the rooms for the move – says, ‘It’s a pleasure to see all the students settling in and enjoying their new surroundings.’ She also notes that they were really popular in the recent MCR ballot for choosing rooms for next year.
The move followed formal handover of the block by BAM Construction, who are now working on the rest of the blocks, as well as the pavilion that will be at the centre of the development. The design is by Niall McLaughlin Architects. The development champions offsite manufacture — the façade, for instance is made of factory-made pre-cast components – and sustainable construction, the frames for the blocks being made of Cross-Laminated Timber, which is both sustainable and a way of reducing deliveries during construction by 80 per cent.