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Purcell completed a Conservation Plan for the full 14.1 acre site, called the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ), which informed a masterplan. Various architects were consulted to design the different buildings which are to be constructed on the site and Purcell was appointed to restore, renovate and refurbish the 1770 Radcliffe Infirmary and transform it from Oxford’s first hospital into the representative building of the new expansion space for the collegiate University.

The design kept the fit-out of a rather rigid plan as flexible and reversible as possible to accept further changes of use and to introduce modern services. The original floor structure was reinforced and most of the roof structure was inspected, treated and maintained. The original internal plasterwork was consolidated and retained behind modern accessible ceilings and many of the original sash windows were retained and refurbished.

We were able to retain all the internal stonework with the exception of the main stone stair. This was found to be badly worn and radically transfigured during the previous ownership.

We decided together with English Heritage and the local Conservation Officer to substitute the cantilevered stone stair with a replica of the original.


The interiors have been designed to provide study areas, teaching areas, offices for the university, a library although they are capable to be easily reconfigured in case of a future change of use.

The main boardroom on the 1st floor and adjacent hall boast Legacy Boards on the walls. A conservation treatment was applied by a specialist conservator to prevent deterioration.

We are grateful to the team from Purcell for their brilliant designs and specifications of fittings, and standards of finish.

Daniel Isaacson, Curator of the Philosophy Centre

The finest decorations, including plaster cornices and timber panelling, which characterised a few of the principal rooms, were left exposed

The restoration of the Radcliffe Infirmary has got a high community value and it is the icon of the new expansion area of the University of Oxford.

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