Nestled amidst the esteemed academic institutions of Oxford University, Rhodes House stands as a testament to international collaboration and the pursuit of knowledge. Originally completed in 1929, this Grade II* listed Arts and Crafts building has recently undergone a £38 million refurbishment, breathing new life into its historic spaces while adapting it to the needs of a modern scholarly community.
The refurbishment project, spearheaded by Stanton Williams architects, aimed to modernize the building’s facilities and create additional spaces for Rhodes Scholars, staff, and the public. This involved a careful restoration of the building’s architectural integrity, including the iconic Rotunda with its spiral staircase, while introducing contemporary design elements to enhance functionality and accessibility.
One of the most significant changes is the creation of a 300-seat convening center in the previously underutilized basement space. This state-of-the-art facility, equipped with advanced audiovisual capabilities, serves as a hub for gatherings, conferences, and events, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas among scholars and fostering a sense of global connection.
The East Wing, once used for administrative purposes, has been restored to its original residential function, providing 21 en-suite bedrooms for visiting scholars, fellows, and guests. These thoughtfully designed accommodations offer a sense of comfort and tranquility, allowing residents to focus on their studies and engage with the Oxford community.
Beyond its physical transformation, the refurbishment also represents a renewed commitment to the core values of the Rhodes Trust: internationalism, excellence, and community. The modernized facilities and enhanced spaces will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for further academic collaboration, cultural exchange, and personal growth among Rhodes Scholars and the wider Oxford community.
Rhodes House, now revitalized and reimagined, stands poised to continue its legacy as a beacon of global understanding and intellectual exchange, fostering a community of scholars who will shape the world for the better.
The redesigned gardens, the work of landscape architect Christopher Bradley-Hole, showcase a harmonious blend of formal and informal elements, reflecting the building’s dual nature as a place of academic rigor and intellectual exploration. The gardens provide a tranquil oasis within the bustling city, inviting contemplation and fostering a sense of community among Rhodes Scholars and visitors alike.