Feilden Fowles beats three Stirling Prize winners to land Oxford University job

Feilden Fowles has beaten a shortlist of star names to win a job to reimagine Oxford University’s Mansfield College.

The practice pipped three Stirling Prize winners for the commission, Haworth Tompkins, Mikhail Riches and last year’s winner Mae, along with twice-nominated Allies & Morrison.

Feilden Fowles says the scheme will be the biggest overhaul of the grade II*-listed college in its 138-year history.

It will see newbuild elements and refurbishments, providing 200 new on-site bedrooms, a new Porters’ Lodge and college entrance, teaching and learning facilities and social spaces for students.

Established in 1886 as a place to provide training for nonconformist ministers, Mansfield College is one of Oxford’s newer colleges and retains its inclusive legacy, with the majority of its students arriving from state schools.

It was largely designed by Victorian architect and author Basil Champneys, who was also behind several other buildings at the university and Manchester’s grade I-listed John Rylands Library, which Donald Insall Associates is currently refreshing.

Feilden Fowles’ plans for Mansfield aim to integrate the college’s heritage buildings with “contemporary ideas about study and community” based on three concepts, people, place and culture.

Fielden Fowles Mansfield 1

The practice is working with conservation architect Marcus Beale, with the project team also including structural engineer Structure Workshop, landscape designer Stuart-Smith Studio, project manager and QS Cast, town planner Savills and MEP engineer Skelly & Couch. The competition was run by the college’s development partner Stories.

Feilden Fowles director Edmund Fowles said: “Conceived as a whole ensemble, Mansfield College is a unique example of collegiate architecture for its period, and we’ve enjoyed exploring Basil Champneys’ fine buildings and his writing to inform our approach to its evolution. 

“Our designs will have to weave the rich history and identity of the past with contemporary and future ideas about study and community, and most crucially continue to foster the inclusive and respectful culture that defines Mansfield today: open, friendly and welcoming.”

Other projects the firm is working on in Oxford include a

Feilden Fowles was appointed to this job in 2017 through a two-stage design competition, beating a high profile shortlist including Eric Parry, Haworth Tompkins, Sergison Bates, Stanton Williams, Tim Ronalds and Walters & Cohen.

Mansfield 3

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