The Academic Wing

Wolfson College completed its development of the Academic Wing in Spring 2016. Award winning architecture by Berman Guedes Stretton Architects has enhanced the college's focus on creating an inspirational space to meet, discuss and work. 

The whole of the Academic Wing provides a clear arrival-point on Linton Road, appropriate to the stature and the open, welcoming ethos of the College. Together, the facilities have greatly enhanced the College’s resources and space for its graduate students, its Fellows, and its Research Clusters. College Members are encouraged to make use of the new spaces before the official opening and to enjoy the new café.

Support and design

We are immensely grateful to the Wolfson Foundation and to Mr John Adams for their generous support for Phase II of our new buildings. Donations were also provided from alumni, members and friends of the College via the Memories and Marks campaign.

The new building links the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, completed in June 2013 and shortlisted for a ‘Design Through Innovation’ award 2014 Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors South East Chapter Awards, to the main College building, and provides much-needed facilities to enhance life at Wolfson. Berman Guedes Stretton Architects and Benfield and Loxley Ltd, who designed and built Phase I of the wing, will be returning to complete our next development. 

New spaces for work and play

The development of new study spaces is central to the new building. In parallel with changing technology, students desire a wider range of study environments, providing opportunities for collective learning and sharing of ideas and resources in a less formal atmosphere, while wishing also to retain the more traditional library spaces and facilities. In Phase II, the original fine library space has remained unchanged, but a variety of new spaces now provide for different patterns of individual and group study.

The ground floor Hornik Room on the north side of the Berlin Quad Room has been extended and the first floor immediately above has been converted into open plan library space. This new quiet library space is full of sunlight and has free standing bookcases and individual desks constructed using the original elegant design from the main library.

Library break-out area

The first floor of the Academic Wing now provides a study zone that differs fundamentally from the existing library. It offers a shared space for collective studying, group work and informal discussion with comfortable soft seating, coffee tables, and ample power sockets. At the far end of the room, there is a sound-proofed media space accommodating a group of about ten people, which will have a large wall-mounted LCD display screen, allowing for group study or presentations.

A number of new offices will also be created for use by College Clusters, including space for the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society and College administration staff. 

Café 

The ground floor is a brand new social hub with a café exhibition space for use by academics, students and visitors attending seminars and conferences in the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium. It is opening on Monday 22 February and will provide refreshments for attendees and library users and will accommodate the many various activities usual to everyday College life. The café will be open from 8am to 6.30pm on weekdays and will provide a selection of hot and cold drinks, cakes and snacks at competitive prices. College members are encouraged to sit at one of the tables or sofas, meet with friends, use the wifi, or take away a coffee. Payment will be possible by card, cash or on battels.

Design features

The design of Phase II of the Academic Wing follows Powell and Moya’s (the architects of Wolfson’s original buildings) palette and materials and mode of composition, balancing areas of blank walls with both large and small areas of glass. As well as rectangular windows, the larger areas of glass are broken into vertical striped elements made from narrow glazing frames, within a discipline of linear elements that are exposed and suppressed in different places.The contrast between rough and smooth wall surfaces, white and grey/blue granite are exploited, and the whole is ordered by the prevalence of columns as an architectural element, in the same bush-hammered finish as the existing building. This gives to the new design a similar order and rhythm as the original.

Green credentials

The building has been designed with a number of unique features to reduce energy consumption. Heating is obtained from an air source heat exchanger and a green roof forms a focal point from Linton Road. All spaces are naturally ventilated by means of movement of air induced across the building. Solar panels have been mounted on the roof of the existing building, which feed hot water into both the new building and the existing building. The buildings will be designed with high levels of insulation and thermal performance.

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