MEB Design was approached by the Provincial Bursar of Blackfriars’ Dominican Council at the APB Conference, and was subsequently appointed, following a favourable reference provided by SLG Convent of the Incarnation and a competitive interview process.
The brief was to strip out and redesign a dilapidated building located at 32-33 St Giles’, in the historic centre of Oxford, to provide a ground floor retail unit, Blackfriars’ Province administration offices and Blackfriars Hall teaching and conference facilities over the middle two floors, secure archive storage in the basement, as well as accommodation for four post-graduate University of Oxford students with communal dining area, kitchen and roof terrace, on the top floor. This subsequently became a fully accessible student bedroom / flat.
MEB Design consulted with all Blackfriars’ Province members of staff, Blackfriars’ friars themselves, and other stakeholders, before developing the concept design for Planning. 32-33 St Giles’ is Grade 2 Listed and in the Central Oxford Conservation Area, therefore MEB Design had to consult carefully with the Conservation Officer throughout the Planning and Listed Buildings process. Both were achieved in very good time
The challenging programme meant that strip-out works began as a separate contract, with the main refurbishment works following on in two phases. Sectional completion of the top floor was achieved ready for the students to move in time for the beginning of the October term https://www.bfriars.ox.ac.uk/news/new-building-first-students-move-in/. The rest of the building was completed and handed over exactly 12 months after MEB Design’s appointment!
“It’s amazing how these modern, accessible accommodations, built with graduate students in mind, have helped me to settle in, begin studying, and join the Blackfriars community. I really appreciate them.” Student Resident, Jennifer (DPhil, Theology)