New Dining Hall
A new Dining Hall with seating for 128 and linked smaller dining spaces is proposed to the west of the Observatory. The 1980s Richard Doll building, is thermally very inefficient. Without significant levels of investment in updating its fabric and facilities it has a limited life. Its replacement will facilitate the relocation of the dining hall, kitchen and servery from within the Radcliffe Observatory (which are entirely inappropriate uses for such a historic building). The historic rooms of the Observatory will be restored and put to use as the library together with common rooms. The student accommodation lost through demolition will be replaced by the new buildings within the walled garden.
The proposed Dining Hall is designed to have its own identity but also to respect the pre-eminence and axial setting of the Observatory. Its openness on the ground floor will allow connection to the central garden space and opportunities to enjoy the garden setting. The design incorporates solid buttresses, which act as chimneys to passively ventilate the building, helping to make it highly sustainable.
Overall, the building is designed to contribute to the history of the site and the architectural heritage of Oxford.