Rose Lane Buildings, Merton College, Oxford, UK

Sir Hubert Worthington
Date Built
1939 - 1940
Rose Lane
At the eastern end of Merton College, along Rose Lane, is this symmetrical collection of buildings designed by Sir Hubert Worthington and built at the beginning of World War II.  They are referred to as the Rose Lane Buildings or the Garden Buildings.

The Pevsner Guide for Oxford is far from enthusiastic about them describing them as "timid" although adding that they do have, "at least some panache".  The guide says they are of, "... Palladian composition with wings projecting to W and E.  The rock-facing of the stone has no Oxford precedent."

Behind the South Lodge, Ridge & Partners, created a lecture theatre, dedicated to T S Eliot, in the space left in the original design.  " The brief required the new building to fit sensitively among the 1930’s buildings of Rose Lane ... Ridge has ensured that the new lecture theatre forms a sympathetic addition to its environment with a design that responds to the scale of the existing buildings and appropriate materials. The limited pallet of stone and glass provides a strong sense of continuity with the old city fabric. ....

.... The visible face of the building is constructed of rubble stone similar to the adjacent city wall lining Christ Church Meadow and glass is used to create a distinct visual junction with the existing stone buildings."

The College says that, "... The award-winning TS Eliot Theatre, located in Rose Lane gardens, opened in June 2010. This wonderful addition to Merton College is the most recent building to be opened in the College's 750-year history.  The theatre offers conference organisers state-of-the-art facilities whilst enabling organisers and delegates to enjoy the historic buildings and gardens of a traditional college environment.  The flexible facilities can comfortably accommodate a conference of up to 147 guests and are equally suitable for smaller events. The tiered auditorium seats up to 118 guests, with additional gallery seating on either side if required.  The TS Eliot Theatre complex offers not only the main auditorium but also three additional seminar rooms, a small office room, and a large foyer area which can be used for lunch, refreshments, or for accommodating smaller groups."

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