Complex and extensive restoration of historic Victorian gothic buildings, including integration of a build extension.

Founded in 1886, Mansfield College is one of the University of Oxford’s smallest constituent colleges. An increase in student numbers has required a corresponding increase in catering, bar and dining facilities. To meet these requirements, the college’s Grade II* listed East Range buildings have undergone extensive internal and external refurbishment, with a new build extension, requiring careful consideration of any impacts on the historic building fabric.

The garden in the quad between the buildings has been discretely dropped to form a terrace adjacent to a new café, which is housed within the existing envelope. The cafe extends outside through two historical, stone-framed windows, sensitively converted into glass doors. Extensive temporary works were required to support the existing masonry structure, including rubble filled ashlar stone walls, while new structure was inserted to open up the existing spaces. An existing Victorian kitchen was replaced, and existing back-of-house areas remodelled by clearing partitions.

A building with a reinforced concrete frame creates a foyer and circulation spaces, and improves disabled access, while providing new college kitchens. This building is built against the historic chapel and the East Range buildings but is structurally separate from both so that differential movements can be accommodated.

Extensive structural glass insertions were also made, including a large rooflight over the foyer, supported on a lightweight stainless steel frame. This cantilevers out from the new building without taking any support off the gable wall of the East Range, to allow building movements to occur.

Oxford, UK

Mansfield College

Rick Mather Architects