Our team of architects and interior designers go on a summer outing every year. The idea is to show them some inspirational architecture and buildings to fuel their imagination and inspire them when designing homes for our clients. We’ve been all over on our outings; Cambridge to Berlin, Krakow to Paris, and sometimes we’ve stayed in London too. This year we went to Oxford.
Our summer outing always involves lots of walking and photography; this year was no different.
The Radcliffe Camera
We started by visiting the Radcliffe Camera, affectionately known as Rad Cam or The Camera (according to Wikipedia). Architect James Gibbs designed the building in a neo-classical style to house the University’s Radcliffe Science Library. Construction finished in 1749, and it has been an Oxford landmark ever since.
While walking around the city, it becomes apparent there is no select architectural style in Oxford. There is a wide variety of architecture to enjoy, including English Gothic, Neoclassical, Palladian, Gothic Revival – even Saxon! Here are a few examples to show you the diversity of architecture on display:
Blavatnik School of Government Building – the final stop of our walking tour
Renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron designed The Blavatknik School of Government building. The School promotes open discussion, interaction and collaboration to inspire and support better government and public policy worldwide. It is one of the University’s newest buildings.
As you enter the building, above your head, you will see the ‘Window of the World’, the largest double-glazed single pane of glass in Europe at 10.5m x 3.2m.
The idea of openness and transparency inspires the central forum; of course, it also connects all the floors.
The shifting in floors creates overhangs that reflect the principles of the masterplan massing.
Internally, there are a lot of hard surfaces. This meant the architects had to control sound with acoustic panels to stop it from reverberating around the open-plan lecture halls and social event spaces. The photo above shows you the white foam surfaces used to control sound in the atrium space.
Externally the building utilises a stepped circular form with much of the aesthetic carved in glazed panels.
There was some resistance to the design of the building, with it being described as “a concrete marshmallow” by one party opposing its construction.
The building was later described as “the latest striking building nearing completion in Oxford”, and in 2016 it received a RIBA National Award and was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for excellence in architecture.
You can’t go to Oxford (or Cambridge, for that matter) without enjoying a spot of punting. Thankfully on this occasion, nobody fell in!
Overall, it was a great day enjoyed by all of our team—lots of inspiration, fun and friendship building for our team.