‘A knuckle’: that part of a plan that deals with a shift in orientation, from one vista to another. Exploring Canterbury Quadrangle at St John’s College Oxford, we were struck by the vistas that are composed along powerful axes, but we were also intrigued by those knuckle spaces that playful mediate between vistas – a Baroque game of spaces in confluence and delta. We are designing the college’s new study center and archive, which is to append Canterbury Quadrangle from the woodland enclave of the Present’s garden. To connect this new building through to the colonnade of the quadrangle and also into the Laudian Library that sits above it, our Phase One work has established a triple-vista knuckle. This space accommodates a staircase, whose stepping-stone composition of treads and landings climb and wind a route up into the grand vista of the Laudian Library. The second vista is a secret passageway, discovered from within the shady colonnade. The third is yet to come but is that of the new study center, which will create a lively new route to Canterbury Quadrangle from Thomas White quadrangle, where many of the college’s students reside.
Our latest library – ready for its books, readers and staff –
at Magdalen College, Oxford.
Our exciting refurb of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom will stage a unique tour this April – hosted by Project Architect, James Taylor. Book your ticket here:
“The opening of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, as a new world-class heritage attraction, will provide the missing chapter of the story of William Shakespeare’s life in Stratford – his education and his inspiration to act and write.”
A Boy Bringing Bread
Pieter de Hooch, c.1663
Always a pleasure to see this picture – a scene that is at once domestic and urban. In the design of housing it has offered a powerful diagram for the exciting moments where public and private worlds might interconnect.
Extending into no.15 Bedford Square, the Paul Mellon Centre sought to expand and improve facilities for their cultural events programme and for the Yale-in-London students and staff. Our completed works have provided new study rooms, seminar rooms, library and archive spaces, a reception area, and catering kitchen – organised into a neat circulatory system that involves lateral connections between nos.15 and 16. Through carefully understanding the specific ways in which this academic institution operates we designed bespoke furniture and carefully integrated lighting, IT and services to sit naturally within each of the Grade 1 Listed interiors, while playfully composing the way they interconnect as an ensemble of spaces.
We are designing a new public library and archive for the Church of England at Lambeth Palace – home to the second largest religious collection in Europe after the Vatican. Having illuminated the nation’s ecclesiastic and cultural life for nearly a millennium, this collection is emblematic of the historic relationship between church and state. It is an honour to work on a project of such historic significance and cultural ambition.
A site within the Palace grounds has been chosen so the collections can continue to be appreciated in the setting in which they were bequeathed to the public by Archbishop Bancroft in 1610. The relationship between the building and the Palace Gardens will be critical, and for that we have teamed up with Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner, Dan Pearson Studio. We were both drawn to the project because we felt the myriad issues that it encompasses chime very deeply with our own philosophies and approaches to architecture and landscape design.
Our work for St John’s College in Oxford has reconfigured the Baroque set-piece of Canterbury Quadrangle by providing a dramatic new entrance stairway up to the great library of Archbishop Laud. In turn these alterations make way for the college’s new study centre and archive, which we have designed to discretely append Canterbury Quad from the woodland enclave of the President’s Garden. The project will relieve the Laudian Library and Old Library of crippling storage pressure, enable the college’s special collections to be housed in the right conditions, provide more readers’ seats as well as seminar spaces, cater to broader and newer forms of study, improve work spaces for library staff, and reactivate the heart of the college by being a new route to it from the staircase-sets of Thomas White and Garden Quadrangle.
Our anniversary newspaper…
Reviewing this book reminded us why it is so important to both retain and re-think libraries as a building type. Published by Building Design Online, you can read our review here:
Wright&Wright_Book Club Review-Improbable Libraries