Bridge links old and new

A student accommodation block at the University of Oxford has been integrated into a conservation area with the aid of a bridge

The Brewer Street project is a new student accommodation block at Pembroke College in Oxford. It comprises 90 single ensuite rooms and six self-contained fellows’ apartments which form part of a larger development worth a total construction value of £16m and including a lecture theatre, seminar rooms and café facility.

The development has provided a significant extension to the existing college campus by adding two new quads and a bridge linking the old site to the new, crossing Brewer Street and the scheduled ancient monument, the City Wall.

Daniel Carter from Bidwells, says: “An additional complexity was that the current college site is split by a public highway and so the college selected designers who proposed a new bridge link between the existing site and the proposed new site. This bridge required extensive discussions and negotiations with English Heritage, Highways Authority and the Planning Authority in order to obtain the consent required.

“This added an extra dimension to the project, along with the usual challenges of budget and timeframe which we handled by adopting a carefully managed phased approach, ensuring the students moved in for the new academic year.”

John Church, college bursar and project director, adds: “The bridge was a crucial link between the old and new facilities to make it an extension and not an annex. This needed to be constructed in a conservation area with the City Wall and surrounded by listed buildings. Conservationists and architects were brought in early on and came up with a bridge with glass sides and a deliberately rusted structure. This was very tasteful and sits well in the setting, providing a delightful blend of the old and new.”

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