Building for the future

Help us build an inclusive community for the future. Underpinning our Access to Excellence programme Wadham College is constructing two new buildings; Oxford's first-ever purpose-built access centre will become the hub for our extensive school outreach work, and a fully accessible Undergraduate Centre will provide our students with inspirational facilities for social and academic interaction.

What is the vision?

Improving accessibility to Wadham College and an Oxford education is key to our plans to develop a new Access Centre and Undergraduate Centre. The two new buildings will enable the College to expand and develop its work with students from disadvantaged ‘widening participation’ backgrounds and have 24-hour accessibility for students with disabilities.

As a leader in access and outreach provision, reaching thousands of secondary school students through our outreach work every year, Wadham has been looking to create a dedicated facility for welcoming young people aspiring to study at Oxford for many years. Similarly, the College has long been aware of the need to provide accessible facilities to our undergraduate students. Thanks to generous leadership benefactions from alumni and friends, and with your help, this aspiration will become a reality.

Thanks to the outstanding generosity of Dr Lee Shau Kee Wadham is developing the first ever dedicated access facility in Oxford. A transformative benefaction from William Doo and his family is enabling the development of a fully accessible undergraduate centre. Alumni and friends of Wadham are now joining these leadership benefactors to help realise this vision.

The Dr Lee Shau Kee Building is designed to house the College’s extensive access and outreach programme and will also be a hub for sharing our teaching and engagement expertise with a wider network of schools across the country. This first-ever dedicated access facility in Oxford will offer purpose-built space for welcoming pre- and post-16 secondary school students when they visit Oxford for aspiration days, summer schools and curriculum enhancing teaching in the humanities, social sciences and STEM subjects. The building will have a dedicated music room, space for public lectures and disability-accessible student accommodation for our residential summer schools.

With one of the most diverse student bodies in Oxford, the undergraduate community at Wadham will also benefit from fully accessible facilities. The William Doo Undergraduate Centre will be at the heart of the student community and have study areas, social space, an art room, café, e-hub and Junior Common Room where undergraduate students can gather to study, exchange ideas and socialise.

By creating inspirational learning, social and creative spaces for groups and individuals, the buildings will expand the range of welcoming learning environments in College, providing an alternative to the formal structure of the Library or the isolation of a bedroom.

What will it look like?

The proposed development has been carefully designed and sensitively scaled to the surroundings, including the historic 17th century foundation buildings and the Holywell Music Room, as well as the modern entrance building to the McCall MacBain Graduate Centre.  The materials incorporated in the design provide a transition from the gothic architecture of the Front Quad. The buildings will have more natural light and will improve pedestrian access between the Back Quad and JCR Quad.

The William Doo Undergraduate Centre


The Dr Lee Shau Kee Building

JCR Garden Quad

A student bedroom

The E-Lounge

The Lee Shau Kee Scholars Room

JCR Garden Quad

The Student Hub

Internationally acclaimed RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architects AL_A were chosen by Wadham's Governing Body to design the buildings. Founded by Amanda Levete CBE in 2009, AL_A has won international praise for their bold and inspirational projects around the world. Commissions include the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter in London, MAAT in Lisbon, the Central Embassy tower in Bangkok and the remodelling of Galeries Lafayette Haussmann in Paris.

Meet the architect

The current Goddard Building and Junior Common Room from 1952 are not fit for purpose and have, for many years, been falling behind other Oxford facilities, including our own facilities for graduates. The building is completely inaccessible to students with mobility issues, and this is a cause for real concern. Because of the access issues, and to address various urgent deficiencies within the building, it would need to undergo significant and costly refurbishment in the immediate future, were it not for the opportunity to replace it with fit-for-purpose facilities. Under the proposed scheme, the architects have worked to optimise re-use of existing structures, keeping the basement and parts of the existing steel frame in tact.

How you can help us build for the future

Generous benefactors have enabled the College to secure a major part of the building costs and alumni and friends of Wadham are now joining this leadership group to help make the project a reality. A range of prominent naming opportunities are available and contributions of all sizes will make a difference to our appeal. To discuss how you can become involved please contact Director of Development, Julie Hage or Deputy Development Director, Marco Zhang.

Donate now


The College commissioned AL_A as project architects in July 2016 and the firm has since been working with the College Building Working Group to develop the detailed designs for the new buildings. Subject to the necessary permissions, demolition is scheduled to take place from July 2018, with construction beginning in December 2018 and building completion by August 2020.