Somerville College has won Oxford City Council’s David Steel Sustainable Building Award for its new accommodation buildings on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ).

The project was commended for its careful balance between the on-site heritage and the need for energy efficiency measures to be incorporated into the building. The Council also found that energy efficiency measures, including renewable technologies such as solar thermal energy and ground source heat pumps, all contribute to provide a truly sustainable building that respects its historic context and surroundings.

The Principal of Somerville College, Dr Alice Prochaska, said: “Somerville’s students have told me how much they appreciate the quality of their new accommodation blocks – so much so that demand for college accommodation has significantly increased since their opening in 2011. For so many of our students, the environmental impact of the College is as important as the comfort of the facilities – and these two buildings address both those concerns in equal measure.

“It has always been important for Somerville to push the boundaries in many fields, and it is wonderful to know that the College is home to cutting edge, resource-efficient and sustainable technology. I am delighted that the vision, inspiration and hard work of Niall McLaughlin Associations has been recognised in this way.”

The College Treasurer, Andrew Parker, who manages the capital projects at Somerville, added:

“I know how hard the design and construction teams worked to produce two buildings of this quality, and the award is much deserved. Niall McLaughlin is of course very proud that the project has been selected for this award, and that is equally true of everyone at Somerville. I would like to pass on my congratulations to the whole team.”

The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Dee Sinclair, says: “These buildings deserve the award as they have worked hard to achieve the environmentally friendly solutions within their design. I hope it will encourage more developers to think about environmental issues when they build properties in the city.

This is the latest in a string of architectural accolades for Somerville’s ROQ accommodation buildings, which have also included a RIBA award in June 2012.

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