Composed of 16 glue-laminated timber arches separated by a glass roof and walls, the undulating South Cloister corridor of Oxford’s Cohen Quad, by Alison Brooks Architects, creates a light-drenched meeting place for students and faculty. The 77-foot-long passageway, ventilated by operable windows, is ellipsoidal in section—16 feet high at its peak, with smaller, more tightly spaced arches at its beginning and end. Alison Brooks’s 65,000-square-foot S-shaped building, which was completed in 2020, is now home to 90 graduates plus three fellows who live and study behind its walls. The quad includes seminar spaces, music practice rooms, a learning commons, a special-collections archive, café, roof terrace, and auditorium. Throughout the building and grounds, the architect took care to sensitively reimagine the age-old Oxford quadrangle for the 21st century within the context of the 700-year-old campus. The cloister, steeped in monastic tradition, “really symbolizes the whole project,” says Brooks of the corridor. “Every space in the building has been designed to enable students, fellows, and the wider college community to gather.”
Photos © Paul Riddle, Hufton + Crow and Alison Brooks Architects, click to enlarge.