In July 2009, Níall McLaughlin Architects won the RIBA competition to design the new Bishop Edward King Chapel for Ripon College in Oxfordshire.
When you stand on this site with your back to the great Beech, leaving the buildings behind, you are in a ring of mature trees on high ground overlooking the valley that stretches away towards Garsington. This clearing has its own particular character, full of wind and light and the rustling of leaves. Our design seeks to capture these qualities within the building.
We have two important architectural ideas. The first is a gentle hollow in the ground as a meeting place for the community. The second is a delicate ship-like timber structure that rises into the treetops to gather the light from the leaves. The first idea speaks of ground, of meeting in the still centre. The second idea suggests an uplifting buoyancy, rising towards the light. The way in which these two opposite forces work off each other is what gives the building its particular character.