THE Oxford Preservation Trust has promoted the best of the city’s past for decades and this week celebrated a batch of Oxfordshire’s most successful recent building projects.

Both of the city’s universities were given awards, with Oxford University congratulated for work done to the new Department of International Development at Queen Elizabeth House.

The Big Data Institute at the university’s Old Road Campus also got praise from judges, while a revamp at Oxford Brookes University won an award.

And city colleges’ work drew other praise, with Worcester College’s Dining Hall a winner and the Queen’s College’s New Library also given an OPT award.

Debbie Dance, the trust’s director, said: “Oxford Preservation Trust has celebrated its best ever year with record entries in the 41st year of the OPT Awards 2018. The Awards are a great way for us to recognise the contribution that others make to Oxford and its green setting and this has been our busiest year yet with so many high-quality entries.”

Worcester College’s Dining Hall refurbishment took months, starting in October 2017. The extensive work stripped it back so its former glories could be properly restored.

Pictures on the college’s website taken this time last year show just how extensive the work was. Its wooden floor had been removed, leaving just dust. By May, work had been completed, leaving a stunning refit.

That was the first time the building had been refurbished since 1966. Now it has a plaque from the OPT, a winner in its Large Building Conservation category.

Other winners in that category included work done on the Clerici and Sinclair Building refurbishment at Oxford Brookes University and the new galleries and staircase at St Ebbe’s Church.

Quinlan Terry Architects were also rewarded for what the trust said is a ‘clever re-ordering and integration’ of a new gallery and staircase in the church.

Small Building Conservation prizes were given to Queen Elizabeth House and the Hook Norton Brewery for its work to its Malthouse Kitchen.

That work in its Maltings building brought it back to its best, restoring brick walls, ironwork and wooden floors.

OPT’s award for the Queen’s College’s New Library in its New Building category was another instance of high praise for the work. The college won two prizes at the Royal Institute of British Architects' Regional Awards earlier this year.

The college said it felt it had risen to the challenge of creating a workable space on its small site. While its 17th century library was ‘famously beautiful’, it said it was ‘inadequate for current needs’.

Its extension can now in parts be flooded by natural light and another space was created by building underground, beneath the Provost’s Garden.

Architects Wright & Wright were also recognised for the firm’s work at 4-5 Queen Street in the heart of Oxford city centre in the new building category.

Another project given praise was outside the city, at Beckley Village Hall. That has capacity for 120 people in its main hall, all of whom can benefit from underfloor heating. The building is also complemented by a fine view over Otmoor.

The hall also has changing rooms, ample parking and an all-weather playing field to ensure games do not fall victim to the British weather.

The new Big Data Institute was the fourth building on Oxford University’s Old Road Campus and the third winner in the New Buildings category. In its brief, Make Architects were told to ‘create a space that unites the best of the traditional academic environment with the best of today’s commercial workplace’.

It has a four-storey atrium and the architects say its walls ‘curve at the front in an elegant prow, creating a new landscaped space in front of the entrance’.

And, they say, ‘timber ribbons and a dramatic timber staircase recall the richness of Oxford’s traditional academic buildings.’

Keble College’s equal access lift was given the OPT Small Projects award.

That scheme was designed by Oxford-based firm Original Field of Architecture.

Work to improve the landscape and accessibility for pedestrians at the Broad Street/Parks Road/Holywell Street and Catte Street junction was also rewarded.

While certificates were awarded to other projects which didn’t scoop top prizes.

Magdalen College Hall and Brasenose College’s Greenland Library were given certificates in the Large Building Conservation category.

The Small Building Conservation category saw other awards for the boundary wall and railings at 1-3 Rawlinson Road in Summertown and other work at 40 Park Town and 6-8 Park Town.

Other new buildings which were celebrated and given certificates include the sixth form centre at d’Overbroeck’s in Summertown, the Perrodo Project at St Peter’s College and the Hands Building and Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Mansfield College.

The South Oxford Community Centre was also commended.

Entries for 2019 open in February.