Beard lets crane take the strain as new Catherine Hughes student accommodation goes up

Somerville College’s new Catherine Hughes Building will be taking shape this month following the arrival of a 24-metre-high tower crane which will lift over 500 pre-assembled walls into place creating a five-storey structural frame for the smart new student accommodation in Walton Street.

Our Oxford-based team is delivering the complex £8.4 million project which is being built in a confined site requiring sections of the building to be built off site and craned into the building.

“Very early on in our involvement with this project we decided that this type of off-site panelled construction is a more efficient method of constructing a building in a tight space, particularly on an operational campus like this. It’s also a faster and more environmentally friendly construction process which reduced our vehicle movements during construction of the structural frame by 80%, lowering our carbon footprint and impact on the surrounding community,” explains our contracts manager Richie Carter. “We’re really pleased with the construction which is progressing well. Passers-by will really be able to see the building taking shape over the next 11 weeks as the tower crane carefully lifts these panelled walls into place, creating the structure of the building.”

Due for completion in autumn next year, the Catherine Hughes Building will provide 68 student bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, including three accessible bedrooms. The rooms will be arranged in clusters with kitchens and circulation spaces. On the ground floor, a new reading room will be provided.

The scheme has been designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects.

The new Catherine Hughes Building will allow the College to provide all undergraduate students with on-site accommodation.

Andrew Parker, treasurer and domestic bursar of Somerville College, says: “We are very pleased that the Catherine Hughes building is taking shape so quickly. When this work is complete we will be able to house all of our undergraduates here on our main site, reducing accommodation costs for our students and bringing our community closer together.”

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