23 February 2021

H B Allen Recognised in OPT Awards 2021

The H B Allen Centre has been awarded a certificate in the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards recognising its significant contribution to Oxford.

The judges commented that the design "Cleverly references Keble without falling into pastiche or anything less than a distinctively 21st Century building."

The H B Allen Centre design was developed over an engaging period of consultation with the Keble College staff and students as well as local and statutory stakeholders including the Oxford City Council and English Heritage. There was intensive scrutiny of Acland House at the centre of the site and ultimately it was decided that it should be retained in the scheme to acknowledge the former life of the Acland Hospital. The core villa has been conserved as teaching space and accommodation, with later additions stripped away to reveal the original villa in an entirely new context. The H B Allen Centre now extends around and below the Sarah Acland House, ensuring this intriguing historic asset has a new lease of life.

The building ties into the Victorian Suburb context with a roman-format buff-coloured brick fabricated locally at Northcot Brickwork in the Cotswolds. The decorative brickwork at the main entry façade nods to the historic Butterfield buildings on Keble College’s main curtilage, while the digital printed glass fins on the Woodstock Road address the ROQ. The robust, high performance building envelope provides a sustainable, long-term investment with universal access improving the social value of Keble College for the next century.

Throughout the construction period, local technical colleges in Oxford and Reading also visited the site to understand civil and structural engineering through hands-on experience. MICA work directly with Oxford Brookes University and Bam Construction to contribute to the training of architects, and this site along with others in Oxford was a key case study.

Local labourers were employed and upskilled through dedicated training in trades varying from new brickwork, historic façade restoration, interior partitioning and wet tiling, contributing to the development of Oxford’s local construction workforce.

Two local apprentices were employed directly and trained through activities on the site, and four of MICA’s Social Mobility Foundation work experience students were exposed to construction activity through site visits.

To read more about the project click here

Photo of OPT judges at H B Allen Centre site visit
Photo of OPT judges at H B Allen Centre site visit

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