University exhibits initial designs for Infirmary Masterplan

first_imgOxford University has this week unveiled initialdesign plans as part of the Masterplan for the Radcliffe Infirmary developmentdue to commence mid-2007.The project team is to maintainand renovate the original Radcliffe Infirmary building, completed in 1770, butreplace the more recent surrounding development with new buildings.A spokesperson for Rafael VinolyArchitects, who have been employed by the University for the project, said, “Theinspiration for the new development came from the surrounding environment. Forinstance, the nearby observatory and the Oxford University Press building werevery important in our planning process.“We wanted to open the visualavenues so that the original buildings could be appreciated as they deserved tobe. We also wanted to remove the later additions that were suffocating theRadcliffe Infirmary and have it in its original garden position.”The new development is potentiallyto house the Mathematics and Statistics departments and the Humanities faculties.The Radcliffe Infirmary site liesbetween the Woodstock Roadand Walton Streetand is also bordered by Somerville and Green Colleges.The University has estimated thatit will need a surplus 100,000 sq m for functional estate over the next 20years due to growth in educational and research activity. This need is to becatered for principally by the Radcliffe Infirmary Site, which was purchasedfrom the NHS in March 2003.The University’s interest in theRadcliffe Infirmary site for development dates back to the 1960s, when theHolford Report on land requirements of the University identified the RadcliffeInfirmary as the only sizeable developable land in the city centre, and statedthat the acquisition of it was of “primary importance”. A spokesperson for the projectteam spoke of his satisfaction with the Masterplan’s progress: “I don’t thinkanyone envisaged arriving at a universally agreed concept as rapidly as we havedone. 180 people have visited on the first day of the exhibition and thefeedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”One student, who did not wish tobe named, said he had visited the exhibition on the day it was was opened. “Ithink the plans look very impressive, but I am concerned that the location ofthe new site is too far removed from the centre of the city. The majority ofthe colleges are a good ten or 15 minutes walk from the Infirmary development.It would be a shame if the new learning centre meant that the city lost itsvibrant atmosphere to North Oxford.”ARCHIVE: 2nd week MT 2005last_img

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