Winchester College Housing


This housing project for Winchester College is adjacent to the Kings Gate, the medieval entrance through the enclosing walls of the city from the south.  Directly opposite the site lies the C14 buildings of Winchester College at the head of Kingsgate Street, pronounced by Pevsner as one of the finest Georgian streets in England. Inappropriate buildings from the 1960s have been removed to allow for the re-development.

 The intervention of contemporary housing in such an historically rich environment presented challenges of scale, variation of form, detail, materiality and social harmony, to stitch back the damaged historic fabric of the city. The scheme preserves both a Georgian terraced house and a major Victorian building on the site, creating 11 terraced houses facing onto the surrounding streets. A pedestrian entrance with an Oriel window, intricate brickwork & woven steel gates, provides a formal access into the rear courtyard of the development, creating a new focus at the west end of College Street. The design references the medieval form of the College main gate.

The elevations respect the architecture of the ancient City Gate by reducing in scale from the large form of the Victorian Wellington House. The façade of each house is layered back to reveal more of the City Walls. The narrow aspect of the adjoining Canon Street, is richly enhanced by stepping back from a retained Georgian house with a ground floor colonnade allowing front doors on to the street for all the new houses.

The houses share parking and a communal garden to the rear, with a new under-croft beneath Wellington House. The elevations use contemporary detailing in stone and brickwork, taking their lead from the surrounding Georgian houses. Brickwork patterns are referenced to the surrounding streets. Fenestration has a vertical emphasis, with joinery set back from the facades and stainless steel woven balustrades alluding to Georgian ironwork. Ground floor openings take their lead from former shop fronts on the street, with sliding slatted screens to adjust privacy. The timber clad stair enclosure to the house above the new formal entrance, takes its lead from the medieval staircase up to the chapel above the Kings Gate.

Architect: Cowper Griffith

Project Value: Undisclosed

Photography: Peter Cook