Christ Church Visitor Centre, Oxford Building, English Period Architecture, Design, England, Photos
Christ Church Visitor Centre in Oxford
9 Apr 2020
Location: Oxford, England
One of Oxford’s most-visited attractions has a new, purpose-built visitor centre designed by the UK’s leading heritage and conservation architects, Purcell. The visitor centre at Christ Church houses a ticketing office, shop, visitor facilities, and a multi-purpose seminar space within, and as an extension to, an historic barn. Sitting discretely in Christ Church Meadow, the visitor centre has been planned to welcome over 400,000 visitors per year.
The distinctive thatched-roof design on the ‘barn’ style building is unique in the city of Oxford. The thatched roof presented a number of design challenges addressed successfully during the design and planning process. Other design challenges included the location within the historic park and gardens of Christ Church Meadow, the proximity of the Grade I listed buildings of Christ Church, civil war archaeology below ground, and its location adjacent to the Oxford flood plain.
Purcell designed the building to offer improved visitor and staff experience through more user-friendly access routes, improved ticketing systems, and purpose-built spaces to support an expanding education experience and to share the history of the institution and the Meadow more effectively.
As the second most visited paidfor attraction in Oxfordshire, after Blenheim Palace, a new ticketing arrangement within the building should reduce the queueing at peak season. Furthermore, the additional building has enabled the existing Cathedral shop to be relocated from the Christ Church’s 13th Century Chapter House, allowing this beautiful and historic room to be restored for use more in keeping with its original purpose.
In addition, the project has also delivered new yard facilities for the landscape team. Purcell’s designs create a brand new agricultural-style timber building situated within the Grade I listed landscape, with modern staff amenities, increased storage, and welfare facilities for the team that is responsible for looking after the green areas of Christ Church included in the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest.
Jane Kennedy, Purcell partner is Foundation Architect to Christ Church. She comments that the development of the idea for the barn has taken many years but says, ‘I am delighted that we have provided the Foundation with beautiful and useful new buildings and at the same time will be able to restore and reopen the medieval Chapter House.’
James Lawrie, Christ Church’s Treasurer, has commented, “Christ Church is delighted with the new Visitor Centre, the restored Thatched Barn and the upgraded compound. We have very much enjoyed working with Purcell on creating this sympathetic complement to our historic Meadow.”
Christ Church has many notable buildings including Tom Tower designed by Christopher Wren and the Great Hall which inspired the dining hall in the Harry Potter films. Notable alumni of Christ Church include 13 British PMs, 17 Archbishops, Lewis Carroll, WH Auden, Jan Morris, John Locke, and Robert Hooke.
Photography: Ross Hartland
Christ Church Visitor Centre in Oxford, England images / information received 090420
Location: Oxford, England, UK
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