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In 2015 Purcell’s Oxford studio won a design competition for the extension of the Radley College’s Chapel.

Our design extends and refurbishes the chapel providing additional seating to support the increasing pupil numbers whilst ensuring the long-term continuation of the chapel’s daily service. The project is due to finish in Autumn 2020.

Brief

Designed in 1893 by one of the most prevalent English architects of Victorian England, Thomas Graham Jackson, Radley College Chapel, in Oxfordshire, is a superb example of Jackson’s architectural eclecticism.

The Grade 2* Listed chapel is a focal point of college life and is an important part of the school’s culture.

The brief was to extend and refurbish the building to provide additional seating to support the increasing pupil numbers and to ensure the long-term continuation of the chapel’s daily service.

Senior Architect, Josh Greig

Design

Our winning vision of the extension was to extend the east end of the chapel, to provide a greater focus on the sanctuary and the opportunity for reordering in the space to ensure that the building’s functions are optimised.

The extension is a conscious continuation of Jackson’s design, whilst also having its own contemporary character and presence and is an important part of the school’s evolution and future. In addition, the architectural detailing, material selection, scale and proportion of the extensions have all been driven by the sense of design unity within the chapel.

The approach taken was to extend to the east, creating a new sanctuary, with small ‘apses’ extending to the north and south. This series of small interventions have enabled the number of seats to be increased by 30% within the existing nave.

BIM

In developing the chapel’s extension, our team are using Building Information Modelling (BIM) as an opportunity to peel back the layers of the chapel’s history and convert raw information into an accurate model.

The BIM model not only informs the current project but develops an efficient long-term facilities management plan for the college.

By developing a BIM model, we have been able to interrogate the design proposal and undertake clash detection to de-risk the design before commencement on site whilst also flagging issues that might have not been identified during the design stages.

Once Radley College Chapel’s extension has been completed, not only will the college have larger space for the comfort of their students, but they will also have a 3D model as a management tool to ensure the longevity of the building. The project is due to finish in 2020.

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