Wednesday, 28 May 2014

St. Catherine's College Oxford,1959-1964 Arne Jacobsen


In this building, Arne Jacobsen's goal was to convey the traditions that he had encountered when studying Oxford's colleges, reinterpreting their notion and translating them into a modern architectural language idiom

The plan of the building is rectangular and the approach is by crossing a little bridge over the river.



The hexagonal music pavilion, which is brick-built, provides the basic counterpoint to the composition. It's composed of two hexagons, the smaller one is ¿inscribed? in and turned 30 degrees in relation to the larger one.







This building includes an element of symbolism in its composition: the circular lawn which is a reinterpretation of the organization of traditional Oxford's colleges, that are long buildings organized around a square or rectangular quadrangle.







As everybody knows, light is a precious resource in England. The principle source of light in this building is from the exterior. The vertical glazing strips counterbalance the horizontality of the whole building, and enables light to penetrate into the building suffusing it with half-light. This light pours down the walls and spills into the dining-room.  






The supporting walls are replaced by a grid of cruciform reinforced concrete columns  that bear the load of the structure. The frame of columns and beams is filled with non-load bearing masonry to form the exterior walls. The reinforced concrete cruciform columns  hold up high beams of 1.5m depth sideway. This structural strategy eliminates the need for supporting columns across the interior span of 17 meters. 






Carmen Morón Ruiz

 
In this building, Arne Jacobsen goal was to convey the traditions that he encountered studying Oxford's colleges, reinterpreting their notion and translating them into a modern idiom. The plan of the building is rectangular and the approach is by crossing a little bridge over the river.

 The hexagonal music pavilion, which is brick-built, provides the basic counterpoint to the composition. It's composed by two hexagons, the smaller one is inscribed in and turned 30 degrees in relation to the larger one.

This building includes an element of symbolism in its composition: the circular lawn which is a reinterpretation of the organization of traditional Oxford's colleges, that are organized as long buildings around a square or rectangular quadrangle.

As everybody knows, light is a precious resource in England. The principle source of light in this building is from the exterior. The vertical glazing strips counterbalance the horizontality of the whole building, and enables light to penetrate into the building suffusing it with half-light. This light pours down the walls and spills into the dining-room.

The supporting walls are replaced by a grid of reinforced concrete cruciform columns  that bears the load of the structure. The frame of columns and beams is filled with non-load bearing masonry to form the exterior walls. The structural strategy eliminates the need for supporting columns across the interior span of 17 meters. The reinforced concrete cruciform columns  hold up high beams of 1.5m sideway.

1 comment:

  1. Carmen, I know this building well as my grandmother worked there for many years. We would go there and walk around as we waited for her to finish work sometimes. It is magical crossing the little 'moat' from the lane into the gardens, it 'focuses the mind' as was written about the British Library.

    Saying this however, St. Cath's can be a cold and barren place at times, in winter it looks quite neglected and the open quadrangles don't contain the space and it kind of feels a bit windswept and sad. The music room seems forgotten at the back of the grounds rather than hidden. The large windows of the bedroom are so large there's almost total visibility of each student's life, a kind of 'panopticism' across the lawns.

    Saying that, however, your description is wonderful, and it's amazing that you can see the description of the Pompidou Centre describe the refectory of St. Cath's so well. It's clear, it's structured, it balances context with description of form and the materiality with the use of light which gives a feeling of completeness to the description. Well done.

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