Five years after its opening, Exeter’s Cohen Quadrangle continues to attract attention for its beautiful and innovative design, created by Alison Brooks Architects. The largest expansion of Exeter College since it moved to Turl Street in 1315, Cohen Quad is a collaborative space that combines study-bedrooms, teaching and performance space, a reading room, space for College’s special collections, and a hub for social learning. This year, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awarded Cohen Quadrangle with a RIBA South award and the RIBA South Building of the Year award.
Building Design magazine’s Ben Flatman recently interviewed lead architect Alison Brooks while exploring Cohen Quadrangle. He describes Cohen Quadrangle as ‘a project that manages to recreate the atmosphere of a college in miniature, through an enriching mix of uses, detailed research into historic precedents, and careful consideration of how its occupants interact.’ He continues, ‘This building feels like a genuine evolution of the collegiate tradition, imbued with a profound empathy for the Oxford college typology, and a fascination with what makes these institutions unique. Cohen Quad is a living manifestation of what the contemporary, inclusive, Oxford college has become.’