Transforming our Site
We are continuing to progress the initial phase of our building work. We anticipate that the new buildings will be complete in autumn 2020. Beard Construction's staff members are working where possible on our site and are following government guidance when doing so. Find out more about Beard's response to COVID-19. As work progresses, we welcome your involvement in shaping a new era for St Hilda’s. Find out how you can make a gift to St Hilda's 125th anniversary campaign.
View the latest film of our construction work
Our new buildings are emerging! Take a look at how they have progressed, from the first stages to now.
Aims and Objectives
We have embarked on a major redevelopment of accommodation and facilities for our students and staff on the College site. Undertaken in two phases, the planned building programme will enhance significantly the experience of St Hilda’s as a place to study, live, and work. In particular, it will provide a college room for all undergraduate students for the duration of their degree. It will include a new Middle Common Room for graduate students and provide new, high-quality teaching, office and social spaces. The new Porters’ Lodge and main entrance will revitalise the College's profile on Cowley Place. Redesigned gardens will embed the buildings in the distinctive green space of St Hilda’s riverside setting.
Our initial phase of building work transforms the front of the College site. It includes a new boundary building (replacing the old Porters’ Lodge and Middle Common Room) and a riverside pavilion (replacing Milham Ford). The building programme necessitated the move of our Chapel from Milham Ford building when it was demolished to a temporary location elsewhere in College. With input from the JCR, MCR and SCR, St Hilda's Governing Body decided to create a multi-faith room. This will be an inviting and inclusive space, to which all members of College will be welcome. The decision reflects St Hilda’s commitment to inclusivity. Some practical matters related to the implementation of the decision are still to be explored, before the new buildings open in autumn 2020.
We expect the second phase to transform the rear of the site. In December 2019, the multi-award-winning architects, Design Engine, were appointed for our new student accommodation project. This followed an invited competitive interview which focused on the practice’s design approach rather than any single definitive solution. The project encompasses new undergraduate accommodation, gym and academic support facilities as part of a second phase of development at St Hilda's.
We aim to reduce the polluting emissions from heat and power in our new buildings. The buildings' form and fabric will inherently help to control their internal climate. Thus, the demand for heating or cooling required to create comfortable work and living spaces will be reduced. This has helped to strip back many technological add-ons from the outset.
Natural ventilation is provided by openable windows. The windows’ sizes and deep-reveal depths also help to regulate and optimise daylight and sunlight penetration. The 3D modelling of the Pavilion led to refinement of the precast concrete fin sizes to optimise shading windows from sunlight around midday and in the early afternoon.
The exposed concrete structure of the Boundary Building and our natural ventilation strategy means that it will avoid overheating without the use of mechanical cooling systems. As the concrete has a high thermal mass, energy is slowly absorbed or released stabilising temperatures throughout the day.
A standalone Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system that is sized and controlled to meet the hot water baseloads of the new accommodation can deliver carbon and cost savings. By using waste heat from electricity generation, the integral inefficiency due to transmission of the electricity can be improved. The high hot water usage for student accommodation means that hot water generation represents a significant demand for energy throughout the year. Combined heat and power systems are recognized as capable of delivering significant energy and carbon savings compared with the separate generation of heat and power.
Using a central CHP engine to provide heating and hot water loads, the use of natural ventilation, and high thermal mass combine to make possible a 23.2% overall energy offset by low and zero carbon technologies. By doing this, we are also achieving a 10.5% reduction in CO2 emissions.
We will provide regular updates on our building project and our progress towards its completion. Follow the links below for further information.
Oxford has become one of the least affordable cities in the UK for housing... a College room can be as effective as a bursary, saving a student more than £1,500 over an academic year.