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Wright & Wright's St John's College Study Centre hosts our 'Science Cities' event this September

Above: The new Study Centre and Archive, St John's College, Oxford - designed by Wright & Wright Architects (Photo by Hufton and Crow)

Future Cities Forum is delighted to be holding its September 'Science and Cultural Cities' event at St John's College, Oxford in the new Study Centre and Archive designed by Wright & Wright Architects.

The forum will look at investment and development in the City of Oxford, in relation to competing science cities around the world and how the culture of the City helps to attract international talent. The forum follows on from Future Cities Forum's event hosted at the Weston Library by The Bodleian's Chief Librarian Richard Ovenden in 2021 (opened by Lord Mendoza of the DCMS) and at St Ann's College in 2022 with the CFO of Oxford University Hospitals and the region's leading science park owners.

Sandy Wright, Co-founder of Wright & Wright Architects will be at the forum to describe its projects at St John's College. Sandy's early projects include the library for the Royal College of Art, the Women's Library, the RIBA Reading Rooms and Archives at the Victoria & Albert Museum, in London, the Taylor Library at Corpus Christie College, Cambridge, the National Gallery, London, Oakfield School in Hull, Newlands Academy in Southwark, Hull Truck Theatre, Lambeth Palace Library and Longwall Library at Magdalen College, Oxford.

He recently completed the award-winning Library and Study centre for St John's College, Oxford and is currently overseeing Phase III works on the College's Old and Laudian Libraries. He will be accompanied by Rita Cadavez who joined the firm in 2015 with extensive experience in education, housing and large-scale, mixed-use projects in The Netherlands, Portugal and Asia.

On the St John's College projects the practice states:

'For over 40 years, St John’s College had been looking for a way to extend its historic Laudian Library in Canterbury Quadrangle. Wright & Wright's new Study Centre and Archive resolved this conundrum. Balanced in scale, faced in stone sumptuously modelled by artist Susannah Heron, it sits discreetly behind a 17th-century wall in the President’s Garden, connected with Canterbury Quad but also read autonomously as a new building in its own right.

'Housing the College’s world-class Special Collections and containing 120 reader desks, the new Study Centre creates an active connection between Canterbury Quad and the more modern elements of the College, strengthening links between different eras. The site in the President’s Garden was chosen as it had the least impact on existing surroundings and landscape, while enabling library resources to be consolidated in a single location in strictly environmentally controlled conditions.

'Set along the east edge of the garden, the Study Centre is accessed by the Otranto Passage, a long, thin corridor now refurbished to create a new route through Canterbury Quad. Conceived as series of overlapping planes of masonry and glass, the Study Centre resembles a stone casket, with a complex section and thick-skinned walls that sculpt and moderate light, giving each space a distinct character.

'Poetry is combined with pragmatism, as the building incorporates a number of environmental control measures designed to reduce its energy consumption, such as a high thermal mass, heating provided by water from ground source boreholes and photovoltaic panels. Such measures are designed to fully offset the building’s carbon emissions to achieve a carbon neutral status.'

Below: St John's College, Oxford, side elevation view of the new Study Centre and Archive (Photo by Hufton + Crow for Wright & Wright Architects)

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