The Keble College Dining Hall and Kitchen are Grade 1 listed buildings and part of a greater complex of original college buildings. Revered as one of the finest examples of 19th century architect, William Butterfield’s work, Keble College is a wonderful example of late Victorian gothic architecture. In exhibiting all Butterfield’s decorative ornament, the Dining Hall is the centre piece of college life. The hall’s interior has been restored to include timber panelling, brick and stone work and furniture. A complementary lighting scheme was designed by Original Field. See separate project entry in archive.
The college kitchen is located in the basement and below the main Dining Hall. The catalyst for this element of the project are serious operational issues where the quality of service, efficiency of staff and health and safety were causing concern. The project re-engineers the entire college food delivery and housekeeping programme within the confines of the existing building.
The intention of the Butterfield design is to create a utilitarian under croft below the main Dining Hall. The wrapping clerestory provides a dramatic cavern experience, one that has been eroded over time with infill elements. The design reinstates the clerestory to exploit this cavernous quality. The original kitchen was separated from the clerestory by a screen (or soft edge). It is also intended to reinstate this edge with a transparent modern envelope which emphasises the mezzanine as an insertion in contrast to the existing building fabric. The edge becomes mechanical and utilitarian, thereby representing the function within. Where possible the existing building is celebrated and inserted with contrasting new works. The kitchen spaces are ambitiously likened to Giovanni Battista Piranesi Prison (Carceri) series which are wonderful evocative prints of cavernous utilitarian spaces. Piranesi’s drawings was a significant point of reference in our consideration of the clerestory and mezzanine intervention.
Phase 1 of the project including the Dining hall refurbishment and new servery was complete as of March 2019.