Old meets new with McLennan Architects' design on conservation site

McLennan Architects has been given the go ahead for a student housing project in an Oxford conservation area.

The local architect has been granted planning permission for a 102-room housing scheme for client Exeter College on Iffley Road in east Oxford.

It will share the site, known as Exeter House having been purchased by the college back in the 1950s, with two early Victorian neo-classical villas, an Edwardian semi detached house, a Victorian chapel and a school building dating from the early 1800’s.

McLennan was commissioned last year to look at how the site could be optimised to meet the college’s urgent need to provide accommodation for its graduate students.

The masterplan involves the removal of low grade extensions, the restoration of quality historic buildings and the construction of three new contemporary buildings.

Anthony Pettorino, project architect and a director of McLennan, said: “Starting with a site that was architecturally quite confusing, we have managed to increase the density by around 100% in a suburban part of Oxford with the full support of both the local community and the Oxford City Council.”

The geometry of the site has been reorganised to create three new gardens enclosed by new and existing buildings.

There are also some sustainable initiatives including the use of ground source heating and solar panels on all south and west facing roofs to help provide hot water to all the bathrooms.

Pettorino added: “People are pleased that we have respected the history of the site and seem to like how we have complemented the restored historic buildings with three new modern buildings which include student flats and an entrance pavilion.”