Studio trip 2017: Allies and Morrison goes to Oxford

The destination for this year’s annual Office outing was Oxford, city of honey coloured stone, university spires and notable architecture from all eras.

Following an early start at Paddington, but fortified by croissants and clutching our new water bottles we were met at Oxford station by our guides for the morning. Split into smaller groups for a walking tour of the city, the morning was spent orientating ourselves, seeing some of the sights and hearing about many of the weird and wonderful traditions with which the ancient city and more particularly the University are synonymous.

Our tour took in views of Herzog and de Meuron’s Blavatnik school of Government, Wren’s Sheldonian Theatre, the Bodleian library, Gibbs’ Radcliffe Camera, past numerous colleges (Balliol, Wadham, and All Souls to mention a few) ending with an obligatory pilgrimage to Arne Jacobsen’s St Catherines College where the rain that had threatened all morning finally came down.

It was a quick dash through the shower to Keble College for lunch en masse. It’s an impressive sight when 300+ colleagues sit down to a meal together. Speaker Alan Berman welcomed us to the city with some insights into his life as an architect working for some of the city’s 38 colleges, and amusing tales of Stirling’s Florey Building.

The afternoon was variously spent punting on the river, exploring the botanical gardens, visiting some of the city’s excellent museums or our very own project at St Peter’s College.

A final reunion at the Head of the River as the sun set was the perfect end to an enjoyable and stimulating day.