The Levine Building
The ADAM Architecture designed Levine Building at Trinity College in central Oxford is a substantial new development set in the heart of Trinity's historic site and marks the first major upgrade of the College’s academic facilities in more than 50 years. It provides 46 new student bedrooms, a major new auditorium, a suite of new world-class teaching rooms, a community space and café, function space with rooftop garden, and a new library wing that incorporates disabled access to the listed Trinity College library. Its design supports the College’s ambition to improve diversity of applicants from a wider range of backgrounds, and to be a benchmark for overall accessibility. It is designed to sit comfortably within the College’s rich built and landscape heritage, on a site within a listed garden with significant historic trees nearby as well as archaeological interest.
The Levine Building was officially opened by HRH The Prince of Wales, on 12 May 2022.
A modern classical building formed from a cluster of four buildings each with its own scale, character, and use, it has been designed so that it can be reconfigured internally over time if the needs of the College change. ADAM Architecture worked closely with user groups drawn from across the whole College community so that specific needs could be addressed.
The new building is detailed in its use of natural materials, is durable in its construction, and environmentally sustainable with stone-faced elevations finished in a honey-coloured ashlar limestone to match that used elsewhere in the College, and a pitched slate-covered roof. The palette of materials used, and traditional design principles employed in a restrained manner ensure that the new building harmonises with the rich pantheon of historic buildings in the College.
Large windows throughout the building maximise natural light and visibility of the surrounding gardens and library quad. The three-storey element facing east towards Parks Road uses rubble stone walls with ashlar stone dressings to harmonise with the Gilbert Scott Weston library to the south. A two-storey high ashlar pavilion building sits to the north of the main block, separated at ground level by a tall arch reminiscent of that which links Durham and Garden Quads.
The interiors of the building are designed to appeal to a broad and diverse range of students and visitors. The rooms are spacious and refined, with a contemporary yet classic aesthetic achieved using natural materials and clean lines.
Trinity College has strengthened its green credentials by adopting this energy efficient and low carbon impact building into their campus. There was also a requirement by Oxford City Council for all new non-residential developments over 2,000m2 to provide at least 20% of their energy requirements through on-site renewable or low carbon technologies. The new building has two air source heat pumps integrated into the domestic heating, hot water, and underfloor heating systems, with high efficiency gas-fired boilers providing any topping-up.
The air source heat pumps, along with active and passive design measures such as high fabric performance, proportional glazing and natural ventilation, and high efficiency systems and controls were identified as the most appropriate technologies to meet the College’s ambitions and the Local Authority’s requirements.
Trinity College President, Dame Hilary Boulding, said:
“We had high hopes for what the Levine Building could offer to Trinity College and it has genuinely fulfilled its promise. The new auditorium has enabled us to provide a public platform for the work of our academics which, at the press of a button, can be transformed from a lecture theatre into a world class chamber music performance venue. The building provides light, elegant and spacious student accommodation including specially designed rooms to accommodate students with mobility needs. The whole building is presented in a contemporary, high-quality finish with large, full-length windows bringing daylight and fresh air into every space, and a restful palette of materials mixing oak and natural stone. It was a deliberate choice to aim for high quality spaces – larger rooms; high ceilings; wide corridors; large windows to throw light into every corner of the building, but also to allow us to enjoy the sensational garden in which it sits.
“We are thrilled with the results. We have achieved a major step forward in offering accessible facilities that will allow us to attract and support a wider range of applicants; and our academic facilities are a joy to work in. We have been trialling events to present our work to a wider public and during the coming academic year we will be using the building to its full capacity, complete with a newly launched public events programme.”
Hugh Petter, Director, ADAM Architecture said:
“The opportunity to put a major new building next to listed buildings by some of Britain’s finest architects in a listed garden and within a conservation area is a rare one. It has been a real privilege to work on this project with such a wonderful team to create a flexible, modern, multi-function building that is fit for the 21st century; which sits comfortably with its neighbours, is exemplary in terms of its sustainability, and which revolutionises the facilities that the College is able to offer its students and the wider community. We hope that the Levine Building will be seen as the embodiment of the living classical tradition and that it will serve the College well for many years to come.”
About Trinity College
Trinity College is one of 39 colleges that make up the Collegiate University of Oxford; it was founded in 1555 in what was then a rural outpost and which now forms the heart of Oxford’s city centre. The college has developed over four and a half centuries including designs by some of the great architects such as Sir Christopher Wren, Henry Aldrich, Thomas Graham Jackson, and Leonard Shuffrey, and is now a vibrant and diverse educational community of 450 students plus 300 academics and staff from more than 40 countries. The college has produced award-winning academics, successful leaders in the business, political and economic worlds, and passionate public servants, teachers, and campaigners. The building is named for Sadie and Gerry Levine, the parents of Trinity Old Member Peter Levine, who came up as an undergraduate in the 1970s and whose generosity kickstarted the project.
Levine Building project data
Total GIA: 3,735m²
Residential accommodation: 1,453m²
46 en-suite study bedrooms arranged into seven clusters associated kitchens and storage
Non-residential accommodation: 2,282m²
An auditorium 148 capacity; a multi-function room 112 capacity; a community space 60 capacity; a reception area 92 capacity; a roof terrace 60 capacity; teaching rooms and administration offices; space for ancillary services and plant; a new library reception; study areas cleverly connecting the new building to the existing library
Client: Trinity College
Architect: ADAM Architecture
Project manager: Bidwells
Landscape architect: LDA Design
Structural engineer: Price & Myers
M&E consultant: Silcock Dawson & Partners
Planning consultant: JPPC
Cost management: Gleeds
Theatre consultants: Theatreplan
Oxford archaeology: Asset Heritage Consulting
Arboriculturalists: Sylva Consultancy
About ADAM Architecture
ADAM Architecture is the leading practice specialising in Classical and Traditional architecture, and contextual urban design. The practice has offices in Winchester and London, and is run by Nigel Anderson, Hugh Petter, George Saumarez Smith, Robbie Kerr, Darren Price and Robert Cox. We are recognised worldwide for our award-winning projects, which range from new country houses and the restoration of historic buildings, commercial and public buildings, to masterplans including village extensions and major housing developments. The Directors are consulted by government agencies and ministries on policy and design, and several urbanism projects have been cited as exemplar examples in recent government publications. They are trustees of national interest groups and prominent in professional affairs. They are active members or trustees of many national and international architectural and urban design organisations.
ADAM Architecture was selected after a limited design competition in 2010 to design the new building to address the long term need for modern student accommodation and new academic facilities. Planning permission for the scheme was finally granted with unanimous approval by Oxford City Council in 2018, following a lengthy and complex planning process.
For more information contact:
Sue Beaumont, PR & Marketing Manager, ADAM Architecture
Tel: 01962 835640, M: 07909 257125
Issued for ADAM Architecture by:
Dick Playfair, Playfair Walker
Tel: 0131 445 5570