Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford
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Designed to accommodate the launch of a new Masters of Fine Art Programme and to give a more public face to the school, the new building delivers facilities worthy of The Ruskin School of Art’s reputation as one of the leading art schools in the UK.
The Ruskin School of Art is divided between two sites, approximately 1 mile apart: a listed building on the High Street and a light-industrial building at Bullingdon Road, which houses the workshops and the main sculpture, printmaking and digital multimedia facilities.
Clever use of a difficult site has enabled the school to double in size to 1,600m², allowing them to accommodate more students whilst also providing them with the facilities to actively host their own public exhibitions and performances. The building includes offices, exhibition space, multimedia studios, metal and wood workshops, print and casting rooms and a seminar room.
CBG provided the energy and environmental building services strategy for the new building. This consisted of highly sustainable M&E services design for achieving BREEAM Very Good, as well as Oxford University stringent environmental targets.
High levels of insulation, low air tightness, efficient and controllable lighting, heat recovery ventilation and renewable technology have been used in this facility, designed to be extremely flexible and adaptable to suit ever changing student needs.
One of the project highlights for the me was the way in which the design team worked together so enjoyably and effectively.
Every member of the team was committed to returning the very best building they could, given the physical and monetary constraints, and this shows in the attention to detail, inventiveness and responsiveness to the user’s needs.
The building has been a joy to work in for all of us, activities that were previously difficult or impossible are achieved without thought or resistance.
The flexibility of the spaces has already been utilised by the students, the main spaces have been reconfigured twice this year, serving as gallery and studio spaces.
The main project space has held a number of public events, talks and lectures, shown films, performances had a couple of parties and a book launch, sometimes with several events happening in one day.
The ability of the building to host all these people and activities often simultaneously was only possible due to the thought, discussion and engagement of a remarkable team.
Jon Roome, Ruskin School of Art, June 2016