Staircases XVI-XVIII (Powell & Moya Building)

During the twentieth century student numbers continued to rise and by 1959 every staircase except one was equipped with toilets and bathrooms or showers, making it possible to demolish the old College bathhouses in 1959 and 1960. A small block of single study bedrooms was designed to fill this space, by modernist architects Powell and Moya. Before this block was built many students lived out of College after their first year. This block, behind the New Quadrangle, is more well-known as staircases XVI-XVIII or 'the car park'.

Powell and Moya became well known for their modernist buildings at both Oxford and Cambridge, and in 1962 the College's magazine, the Brazen Nose, reported 'Powell and Moya have made a great success of a most difficult assignment: the architectural equivalent of a century in bad light on a turning wicket. On a site which had little to commend it they have produced a building with dignity and charm which is admirably adapted to the purpose it is to serve...In human terms the new building, which contains thirty-two bed-sitting-rooms, will enable every member of the College to spend two years in Brasenose.' During the 1960s a Henry Moore sculpture was loaned to the College and placed outside the building, whilst the mosaic mural on the wall by Hans Unger and Eberhard Schuize was 'based on the polyhedron, mediaeval symbol of research and learning’, and is still in situ today.


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