Exeter College has officially opened the newly built Cohen Quad on its Walton Street site. It was due to open in August, but delays meant that 86 students were forced to move into hotel accommodation for the duration of Michaelmas.
Designed by architect Alison Brooks, there are 90 student bedrooms, a lecture theatre and a café, as well as teaching and archive space. The college purchased the site in 2010 from Ruskin College, with the redevelopment made possible by eighteen million pounds worth of donations.
The building has been named after the parents of lead donor and alumnus Sir Ronald Cohen, who graduated with a PPE degree from Exeter College in 1964. Sir Ronald said: “It is at Exeter College that I really learned to think. Education is the one possession that cannot be taken away and I am lucky that I can help future generations of Exeter College students to live in a collegiate environment where their minds are best nurtured and inspired. The stunning design by Alison Brooks will greatly enhance our College’s life.”
Isabella Neil, a third year English student, said: “It is less obvious how great an impact the new building will have on students’ everyday lives. The extra living space that Cohen Quad offers means an end to Exeter students desperately scrambling to find private housing that is ‘adequate’. We now have the option to avoid 52-week rents, hefty deposits and administration fees, and potentially difficult landlords.”
Exeter College said in a statement released on their website that Cohen Quad “Will have a significant impact on encouraging students to apply to Exeter College and the University of Oxford. It will help to alleviate pressure on Oxford’s private housing market and will provide students with pristine and affordable accommodation designed around the needs of modern students, including 30-week rather than 52-week lets. Cohen Quad therefore makes an Oxford education both more affordable and more enjoyable.”