Blog: SECBE Awards 2022 finalist - Student Castle Oxford

28 April 2022

Project of the Year over £10m sponsored by Hill Dickinson

Student Castle Oxford (submitted by fjmtstudio) 

Building Project of the Year over £10m SECBE Award 2022 finalist

Oxford City Centre is experiencing a period of considerable change, renewal and transformation.
Its historic city centre is juxtaposed with under-used urban areas that belie the unique character of the city. Student Castle is the landmark first project to be completed as part of the wider regeneration of Oxpens, one such area, in the Oxford West End.

The Student Castle Oxford underpins the design principles that will guide the overall redevelopment within its wider urban context. It provides a character and legibility that reinforces Oxford city centre’s sense of place. Recognising its importance as a gateway to the city, it creates a considered permeability that ensures good physical and visual connections with its surrounds and adjoining site. The human scale of the development is an articulated response, with a height, scale and massing that provides an appropriate urban grain with a richness of detailing and materiality to reflect the colours and materials that commonly comprise the city centre, with a consistency used to establish a common identity and character.

The client’s vision for Student Castle Oxford was to combine the best in modern student living, with a perfect location, and top on-site facilities. The council’s vision for Oxpens added to this, asking that Student Castle Oxford contribute positively to the regeneration of the area. Student Castle Oxford provides a sustainable outcome and sense of community through the provision of an array of shared and communal facilities and landscaped terraces that responds to the needs and care of the contemporary student, enhancing the university experience of its residents. Drawing reference from Oxford’s traditional
collegiate architecture, the buildings are modulated by covered walkways and green spaces, with a varied roofscape that responds appropriately to the scale of the city. The development provides 515 rooms of high-quality student accommodation – a mixture of single and double bedroom studio flats, and shared ‘cluster’ flats, which is designed and managed in a way that meets the needs of students facilitating the opportunity to live in contemporary and safe accommodation. The entrance lobby and ground level usage acts as a visual link between the street and the scheme, with the active and vibrant usages taken out
into the street, serving to promote Student Castle and the quality of its product, as well as providing a proactive contribution to the street life of the wider Oxpens area.

Student Castle Oxford was completed in 2021 despite the challenges of building during a pandemic. It was delivered by an overlapped design and build process, within strict budget parameters and to a construction cost of £37.2 million, and through creative design exceeded the client’s expectations and maximised its commercial feasibility by achieving a greater number of rooms on the site. It is designed not only around the student experience, but to contribute to the wider community, and the regeneration of the area.

Key achievements:

  • Student Castle Oxford is the landmark first project to be completed as part of the wider regeneration of Oxpens, in the Oxford West End, and it sets an important benchmark for development in the wider urban area. It provides a sustainable outcome and sense of community through the provision of an array of shared and communal facilities and landscaped terraces that responds to the needs and care of the contemporary student and enhancing their university experience.

  • Student Castle was completed in 2021 despite the challenges of building during a pandemic. It was delivered by an overlapped design and build process, within strict budget parameters and exceeded the client’s expectations by achieving a greater number of rooms on the site which allowed the project to afford higher quality finishes and to set more ambitious sustainability outcomes for the benefit of the city.

  • Sustainable land-use and biodiversity are key to Student Castle Oxford. It sits alongside the railway, on a brownfield site previously used as an industrial estate and railway yard. These uses resulted in a site devoid of green space and soft landscaping, and so integrating buildings and landscaping was a key principle that underpinned Student Castle.

Client: Student Castle

Project Partners: fjmtstudio, Tier Consult, Martin Design Associates Ltd, Eckersley O’Callaghan, Quartz Project Services, Winvic Construction Ltd


Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022 Ceremony on Thurs 30th June 2022.


About the Building Project of the Year over £10m Award (sponsored by  Hill Dickinson) 

Project of the Year delivers outstanding outcomes for all those involved in a construction project.  It showcases the benefits achieved through the application of many of the principles described in the other award categories. More info.

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards finalists here



Recent Blog Posts

SECBE Awards 2022 finalist - Student Castle Oxford
28 April 2022
Project of the Year over £10m sponsored by Hill Dickinson
Read More

SECBE Awards 2022 finalist - 123 -124 New Bond Street, Mayfair
28 April 2022
Project of the Year over £10m sponsored by Hill Dickinson
Read More

SECBE Awards 2022 finalist - Horizon Cruise Terminal
28 April 2022
Project of the Year over £10m sponsored by Hill Dickinson
Read More