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19 Feb 2021

Exeter College Cohen Quadrangle: Creating a scholarly home - 26 January 2021

Exeter College Cohen Quadrangle: Creating a scholarly home - 26 January 2021

Culture, History, Community

Designing a space which would retain and emphasise the building’s social and communal history, culture and character was key. Culture and history are reflected in the curved roof which links to arts and crafts and the design of the nearby chapel; while the principle of using metal on the roof incorporates the tradition of craftsmanship. Long windows at street level invite the local community to peer in provoking curiosity. The building was transformed from a C-shape to an S-shape. The S-shape allows users to embrace openness and the wider context, delivering views to the streets or nearby gardens. This innovative S-shape design helped uncover the heart of the building. Implementing a principle of continuous loops throughout the building’s grounds results in never arriving at a dead-end, where students, fellows and staff overlap and cross paths. The building has been adapted, removing barriers and stairs, while preserving the façade and traditional exterior, promoting inclusivity and accessibly.

Functional and Modern Interior Design

The interior is contemporary and modern. Every space is functional, warm and well-lit, particularly utilising natural lighting. The ground floor’s auditorium has a sweeping roof, capturing and projecting light from the south. Pleasure, beauty and an uplifting environment have been generated through these elements. Previous research has indicated that well-being is conducive to academic achievement. It is clear that those within the college have enhanced well-being and overall satisfaction, valuing what their environment offers. Use of multilevel areas promote freedom and choice, encouraging informal and imaginative use as to where and how each space is utilised. This means that the building can be used efficiently 24/7 suiting individual needs. Spaces, such as the college café, integrate staff and students; traditionally uncommon in Webinar Review Speakers: Professor Sir Rick Trainor, Rector of Exeter College & Pro-Vice-Chancellor - University of Oxford and Alison Brooks, Founder – Alison Brooks discuss how to create a scholarly home.The publisher is unable to take responsibility for the views and opinions expressed by contributors. Any advice, opinion or information contained is published only on the footing that the Publisher, and all contributors to this article shall be under no liability whatsoever in respect of contents. academic settings. Overall, the college’s variety of settings supports the engagement and inclusion of its users

Applying Lessons to Post-Pandemic Life

An overlap of living and working environments will continue post-Covid. Generating flexible, adaptable spaces remains key to maximise comfort coupled with productivity. Cohen Quad have arguably achieved this through their innovative, yet inclusive, design. Developing a neighbourhood within their site has remained seamlessly linked to the wider community throughout the pandemic. Despite reduced numbers using the building and further constraints developing due to Covid-19, it has remained a space where groups continue to meet and interact in a lively and safe way.

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