Rhodes House, Oxford

Skelly & Couch has completed Stage 4 design at the Grade II*-listed Rhodes House, Oxford, for a new world-class convening hub designed to encourage the global exchange of ideas across all cultures and nationalities.

The transformation allows the Rhodes Trust to expand its renowned international scholarship programme by providing high-quality convening facilities, new offices, and residential accommodation.

Skelly & Couch’s aim was to conserve as well as enhance existing listed and historic elements of the building through the development of an environmental and energy strategy that served both the refurbishment and new-build by achieving high targets. Skelly & Couch added value in the planning and implementation of non-intrusive surveys to enhance understanding of the existing services, many dating from a century ago, thereby helping the client to define the scope of the works to be carried out.

Having collected the information, Skelly & Couch was able to develop an enabling and phasing strategy that will allow the building to carry on being used whilst the work is underway. It provides efficient and resilient systems over the long term whilst still conserving the existing fabric of the building.

New foyer spaces in the entrance rotunda, created by reconfiguring existing store rooms, will be naturally lit through new lightwells. A large existing archive space will be refurbished to create the convening hall. Central to this space will be a new vaulted roof and the existing east wing will be returned to its former residential use for guest bedrooms.

Through the implementation of a mixture of innovative and bespoke sustainability strategies and solutions developed by Skelly & Couch, any changes introduced to Rhodes House will be tailored to the specific refurbishment, extension and new-build areas within the project.