GMA: Oxford is a unique place, with a strong identity based principally on its historic university colleges. With the quadrangles of these colleges providing open space for the students and staff, the city centre has developed in a manner such that public space is minimal. Although formed in piecemeal fashion, Bonn Square, therefore, is an anomaly. In retaining that which is essential and of historic value, and by folding a taut sandstone surface over its currently fragmented extent, the resultant space achieves a spatial clarity and a dialogue with the material fabric of Oxford, while multiple surface textures allows for a subtle patterning and articulation of both anticipated usage and historic land ownership boundaries. The use of tone, modulation and varying textures will lead to an expressive surface, which over time will wear, providing a trace of peoples movements through the square. Similarly utilising time as an element of design, bronze furniture and fittings will patinate and stain the limestone surface while tree species are selected for their seasonal variation.
The project has radically altered the character of Bonn Square and it is now a flexible, events space which provides a safe and accessible venue for both formal and informal civic events and a backdrop to the life of the city. As the flagship project in the redevelopment of the Oxford’s west end, the city’s principal commercial district, and a keystone in the City Council’s Area Action Plan, Bonn Square will act as a catalyst for further regeneration.”
Landscape Architecture: GRAEME MASSIE ARCHITECTS
Client: Oxford City Council
Cost: £1.5 million
Area: 1,200 m²
Status: Phase 1 completed November 2008