'Hilda Box' Temporary Structure

'Hilda Box' Temporary Structure

Hilda 'Box' wrap


Our home for (just shy of) the next two years will be a temporary structure affectionally dubbed the ‘Hilda Box’. This mini-version of the Hilda Besse will be built over the summer of 2019 in the centre of the college quad, ready for us to move into for the start of the new year.

What will be in the Hilda Box?

Great care has been taken to ensure that all the functions of the Hilda Besse will be replicated in the temporary structure. This includes the Buttery/Bar area, Dining Hall, common rooms, and several meeting rooms.


Plan of the temporary facilities for the Hilda Besse

Below are the artist impressions of what the interior of the Hilda Box will look like. Despite the constraints of the size of the quad, the temporary structure has been designed to replicate each room of the Hilda Besse as closely as possible. Although the space we are working with is smaller, the Dining Hall will have (almost!) the same number of seats as the Hilda Besse’s hall.

To make the Hilda Box feel more like home, some of the Hilda Besse furniture will be moved to the temporary structure for use over the next two years before it is replaced in the revamped Besse. Some of the original furniture has been in continual use since the building opened in 1970 and has become very fragile, particularly that in the Dining Hall.

The distinctive custom designed tables and chairs are being exactly replicated and will be ready for use in the Hilda Box and later in the Hilda Besse itself when renovations are complete. The tables and chairs are visually identical, but the design has been tweaked to allow them to stack and be shifted easily for Bops and other events. This also allows different configurations of tables at mealtimes - from the traditional Oxfordian custom of single long benches running the length of the hall (a la Harry Potter) to more intimate groupings of individual tables.


Concept images for the temporary structure

Building the Box


Preparation for the building works started on the week of the 14th of August, with construction of the 'Hilda Box' temporary structure beginning on the 19th. Construction continues over the summer until completion at the beginning of October. The Hilda Box will be fully operational and ready for students before Michaelmas term starts. The Hilda Besse itself will remain open during the summer.

With permission from Oxford City council, several trees were removed in preparation for the cabins on the 29th of June. Additionally, these were all checked on the day for presence of nesting birds. The sundial will be found a new home in the college after works are complete.

Hilda 'Box' wrap