Building for a fairer future

13th April 2021

News, Student news, Alumni news, Fundraiser

The Dr Lee Shau Kee Building and the William Doo Undergraduate Centre, designed by architects AL_A at the centre of Wadham College’s historic Oxford site will be inaugurated this month. 

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development
  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development
  • Back Quad Development
  • Back Quad Development
  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Wadham Image - untitled-4_7
  • Back Quad Development
  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

  • Back Quad Development

    Photo by Hufton + Crow

These beautiful new buildings enable us to turn our distinctive Wadham beliefs into renewed action, showing the world that wider access really does lead to higher standards.

Warren East (Engineering, 1980) CEO of Rolls-Royce and Chair of Wadham’s Development Council

The new buildings create a state-of-the art Undergraduate Centre on the Wadham site, as well as the Locke Access Centre to accommodate Wadham’s extensive access programme including summer schools and aspiration days. The Undergraduate Centre is a recognition of the huge importance of social spaces in today’s universities. The centre combines a junior common room, café and bar and beautiful daylit work areas.  

The Locke Access Centre is an ambitious investment in the future. The building that students from widening participation will call home for three or four days in addition to our programme of sustained support for some 200 regional schools is designed to encourage pupils from all backgrounds to aspire to an Oxford education. On the ground floor is a suite of light-filled seminar rooms and a music room while the top floors contain student accommodation.

The development is part of Wadham’s Access to Excellence programme where students are supported at every step of their educational journey, from the moment they consider applying to University, through their time at Oxford and on into their careers. 

These wonderful new buildings make real our twin desires: to reflect the beauty of our ancient site and to symbolise our College’s determination to engage with confidence in the promise of the modern world.

Ken Macdonald QC, Warden

Warden of Wadham College, Ken Macdonald QC, commented: “These wonderful new buildings make real our twin desires: to reflect the beauty of our ancient site and to symbolise our College’s determination to engage with confidence in the promise of the modern world. The William Doo Undergraduate Centre and Dr Lee Shau Kee Building now stand as graceful and pure marks of our continuing belief in the harmony that exists between learning and beauty, which our quadrangles, lawns and gardens express so well, and which AL_A have captured with such skill and sensitivity.” 

Warren East (Engineering, 1980) CEO of Rolls-Royce and Chair of Wadham’s Development Council added: “These beautiful new buildings enable us to turn our distinctive Wadham beliefs into renewed action, showing the world that wider access really does lead to higher standards. I am proud of the resolve shown by the global alumni community in supporting this vision.” 

Amanda Levete, Principal, AL_A, said: “These two buildings are designed to radiate openness. Modest in scale, but high in aspiration, they express the liberal and egalitarian values of the College and create a sense of belonging for students and staff. Reflecting changes in the way students work and socialise, they are open and transparent, and use the life of the College to animate the buildings.”

AL_A is the award-winning architecture studio founded in 2009 by the RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete CBE with Directors Ho-Yin Ng, Alice Dietsch and Maximiliano Arrocet. Collaborating with ambitious and visionary clients, they develop designs that are conceptualised not just as buildings, but as urban propositions – projects that express the identity of an institution, a city or even a nation. 

Recently completed projects include the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter London, the V&A’s largest building project in over 100 years, and Central Embassy, a 140,000m2 luxury shopping mall and hotel in Bangkok on the former grounds of the British Embassy; in 2016 they celebrated the opening of MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon.  

As Covid restrictions begin to relax, students are excited to be able to make greater use of facilities in the new buildings. Summer schools are planned to take place in the Locke Access September from August 2021. Enabling fair Access to Excellence has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Wadham alumni and friends and your ongoing support is gratefully received as this appeal enters its final phase. An opening ceremony with donors will be organised later this year, as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.

Project Credits:

Architect: AL_A

Structure & M&E Engineer: Arup

Lighting, Fire, Acoustics, Security, DDA: Arup

Project Manager: Bidwells

Quantity Surveyor: Gleeds

Planning Consultant: Turnberry

CDM Adviser: Ridge

Façade Engineer / Contractor: Eckersley O’Callaghan / Colorminium

Construction: Beard Construction

Landscape Designer: Churchman Thornhill Finch