The Old Fire Station


TYPE: New Cultural Centre
SIZE: 85 sqm New Build, 1400sqm Refurb
STAGE: Completed October 2011

Jonathan was project architect to completion on this award winning (Oxford Civic Trust Award, AJ Retrofit Award, RICS Award) new cultural and Crisis Skylight centre for the charity Crisis in the centre of Oxford.

The ‘Old Fire Station’ is a joint project between Oxford City Council and homeless charity Crisis. The building is an amalgamation of three buildings, dating from 1894, with over 23 staircases, incorporating a gallery, studio theatre and nightclub. The gallery and theatre have been retained, whilst new arts facilities and a new Crisis Skylight Centre for the charity Crisis have been added. The overall vision for the project was to create a unique, dynamic and inspirational centre for creativity, skills development and enterprise in Oxford; and to bring a redundant council building back into use, using a “two organisations, one building” approach.

The existing building fabric has, where possible, been retained to help define the character and richness of spaces and influence the choice of new materials. The vision for the buildings character was to balance the existing fabric with new, robust, industrial materials, such as galvanised mesh balustrades and exposed oil coated steel structures. Along with this we have sought to create a warm and inviting environment, for example through the use of timber flooring and handrails on the upper floors.

The refurbished spaces provide a new, fresh and light finish, whilst retaining the existing building character and exposed original features such as: the leaded light windows, fire places, brick work, stone arches and steel girders. Centrally a new glass, steel and zinc clad courtyard has been inserted into the building, which floods the link bridges, ground floor foyer, gallery and surrounding rooms with natural light.