Studio 2

David Kohn (David Kohn Architects), Anna Puigjaner (MAIO), Job Floris (Monadnock)

Interior Life

We are interested in how Oxford colleges have grown incrementally over centuries and guided by many hands. Colleges expand much in the manner of Chinese courtyard houses, with the larger household of a new century requiring an additional courtyard to be added. Each courtyard, or quad, is an idealized version of the community at that moment. In the late medieval period, the quads are cloistered and introverted, the gown turning away from the town. In later centuries, they open up to embrace nature and, typically, wealthier townsfolk. 

A defining experience of Oxford is of passing from one college quad to another. Despite the architectural autonomy of each courtyard interior, the journey is characterized by extreme architectural variety. The diminutive scale of quads when compared to urban set pieces, and the gathering of many uses in the one building, from study rooms to halls to chapel towers, all contribute to a richness that borders on the decadent. The interior passage through a typical college might then be recalled as an accretion of diverse fragments in the manner of a miniature, fabled city. Its public spaces are like the idealized theatre backdrops described by the Mannerist architect Sebastiano Serlio in his Seven Books of Architecture that set the scene for college life, or the fragmented landscapes of a de Chirico painting.

We will work with our students to question how architecture can make space for new models of collective performance. We will work with a range of archetypal college fragments in model form. These might be a tower, a chair, a colonnade, or a table. Together the fragments will form a toolkit with which to design projects in small groups. We will be working in meadow sites along the River Cherwell adjacent to the Florey Building where the toolkit of fragments can be understood both as follies in a picturesque garden or as the interior of a nascent college of which James Stirling’s Florey Building is the first quad. Working with the teacher and photographer, David Grandorge, we will capture vistas that gather our fragments, the Florey and the floodplain landscape into new collective interiors.


David Kohn

David founded David Kohn Architects in 2007 and was awarded UK 'Young Architect of the Year' in 2009. He studied architecture at the University of Cambridge and Columbia University, New York as a Fulbright Scholar. David is currently an external examiner at the University of Cambridge and is developing a competition winning design for a significant addition to New College, Oxford.

Carrer D'Avinyó. Photo: José Hevia Blach.


Job Floris

Job Floris is architect and co-founder of Rotterdam-based. Monadnock. He obtained his master’s degree in architecture from the Rotterdamse Academie Van Bouwkunst in 2004, following on from his study of architectural design at the Academie voor Kunst en Vormgeving Sint Joost in Breda.  Recent Monadnock projects have included the Landmark in Nieuw Bergen (2015) and Atlas Huis (2017) Job publishes in various architecture and art magazines and has been editor of OASE Journal for Architecture since 2008. In 2010 he was appointed as coordinator of the Master’s degree course Architecture at the Rotterdamse Academie voor Bouwkunst.

Atlas Huis. Photo courtesy of Monadnock Architects.


Anna Puigjaner

Anna Puigjaner is co-founder of MAIO, an architectural office based in Barcelona. She is also currently in charge of running the magazine Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme and teaches at the Barcelona School of Architecture ETSAB/ETSAV - UPC and Massana School of Design. MAIO has recently completed the construction of an urban square, an exhibiton at the MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art) and a housing block in Barcelona. 

MACBA Exhibition Spaces. Photo courtesy of MAIO Architects.