Keble College, Oxford
Andrew Dawson, Joelle Darby, Daniel Kealty and Francesco Miniati
Keble College’s kitchen is located in the basement and below the main Dining Hall, which is grade 1 listed and revered as one of the finest example of Architect William Butterfield's work.
The catalyst for the project was a number of serious operational issues that are now at a point where the quality of service, efficiency of staff and health and safety are causing concern. The project re-engineers the entire college food delivery and housekeeping programme within the confines of the existing building.
It is understood the Butterfield original design intent was to create a utilitarian undercroft area below the main Dining Hall. The wrapping clerestory provides a dramatic cavern experience, one that has been eroded over time with infill elements. It is the intention of the proposal to reinstate the clerestory and to exploit this cavernous quality. The original kitchen was separated from the clerestory by a screen(or soft edge), it is intended to again reinstate this edge with a transparent modern envelope which emphasises the mezzanine as an insertion in contrast to the existing building fabric. The edge will become mechanical and utilitarian thereby being representative of the function within. Where possible the existing building will be celebrated and set up in contrast to new works.
In our initial presentation to the college we ambitiously likened the kitchen spaces with Giovanni Battista Piranesi Prison (Carceri) series, wonderful evocative prints of cavernous utilitarian spaces. This was the point of reference when considering our approach to the clerestory and mezzanine intervention.