Dr Lee Shau Kee Access Centre & William Doo Undergraduate Centre

Oxford, OX1
Wadham College
Beard Construction
Quantity Surveyor
Education and Public Sector

Project Scope

  • SG curtain walling
  • Aluminium Windows and doors
  • Bespoke Fins
  • Architectural Metalwork
  • Natural stone rainscreen
  • Aluminium rainscreen

Project Awards

Oxford Preservation Trust Award 2021

To accommodate the increasing number of visiting students to this historic Oxford location, two stunning new buildings to provide an Undergraduate Centre and Access Centre at the heart of the Wadham College site were designed by AL_A.

Key Challenges

  • Total facade package including responsibility for all interfaces and weather performance.
  • Steel frame and CLT slabs requiring a hung curtain wall system with complex differential movements.
  • Highly engineered and unique glass specification incorporating inter layers and a reflective backing.

The Brief

Colorminium were involved at a very early stage to assist in costing the façade scheme as it transitioned through the design stages, and concurrently advising of any challenges with the delivery of the design.  Following this, the project was then let under a 2-stage procurement model to Beard Construction at which point we were able to fully cost the finalised design.  Working closely with the key stakeholders, the successful contract award and subsequent delivery led to an excellent addition to our growing portfolio of schemes in the higher education sector.

Our Approach

With responsibility for the building envelope, a detailed and thorough approach to the co-ordinated design was vital.  CLT slabs to the low-rise building have meant hanging the SG curtain walling from roof level.  This glazing approach meant the façade works could only start once the frame was complete meaning a progressive wrap in full height sections.  Included in the facade is a highly complex glass specification with Vanceva interlayers and a polished aluminium backing sheet, giving a very unique effect.  Areas adjacent to existing listed buildings needed fire treatment whilst maintaining a consistent external visual.

With varying levels around the site, the two new buildings are joined at the corner with an undercroft running to the rear.  Natural stone rainscreen cladding frames this feature and transitions into aluminium cladding in other less prominent areas.  Bespoke external fins to the curtain walling drop to ground floor level meaning careful design was needed in the high impact areas to give a seamless finish.  At roof level and to close the building off, architectural metalwork in the form of a bespoke angled coping is a stunning feature that runs around the perimeter of the building.

An extremely tight and complex site with limited access needed close attentionduring the design to ensure the products could actually be delivered and installed.  A live campus environment brought an added challenge that needed careful planning to guarantee a safe working environment.

The Result

Completed at the beginning of 2021, the finished building is stunningly executed and will remain a centrepiece on the campus for some time to come.