Keble College, H B Allen Centre

A large new development to provide accomodation for 250 students, with additional lecture theatre, seminar spaces, library, café and further standalone academic building. A large basement picks up and re-supports an existing listed building on the site.

In situ concrete frame on raft foundation.



Rick Mather Architects


Keble College, Oxford

The H B Allen Centre is a large, complex mixed-use building providing new residential, work space, conference, and leisure facilities for the college and a cross-discipline scientific research centre housed within a large basement.


The project is based on the site of the former Acland Hospital and continues our long-standing relationship with Keble College, a constituent of the University of Oxford.

The building has some 250 student bedrooms, all en-suite. Semi- public and communal spaces on the ground floor include a café, seminar rooms and library. The oldest part of the original Acland Hospital, a listed building, is retained. It is temporarily picked up and re-supported on a new basement structure which runs under all the buildings and contains a lecture theatre, gym and storage.

The structure is principally an in situ rc flat slab, with rc blade columns. Varying types of transfer structure are adopted to enable the structural grid to open up on the ground floor level. The basement is an in-situ rc box designed to act as a raft foundation.

The building wraps around a contemporary interpretation of the vernacular Oxford quad, with a series of level changes across the site and a course of water.

A stand-alone academic building fronts the Woodstock Rd end of the site. Again of rc construction, it forms a layered series of curved, cantilevering spaces.

A set of seven steel and glass staircases are used for vertical circulation, each designed according to its individual condition and forming an important architectural thread through the building.

Keble College, H B Allen Centre




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