Nuffield College, Oxford

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Nuffield College

Nuffield College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is an all-graduate college and primarily a research establishment, specialising in the social sciences, particularly economics, politics and sociology. It is a research center in the social sciences. Despite being one of the newest and smallest of the colleges, its architecture is designed to conform to the traditional college layout, and its modernistic spire is a landmark for those approaching Oxford from the west.

As of 2006 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £146m.[1]


History and purpose today

Nuffield College is a graduate college of the University of Oxford specialising in the social sciences, particularly economics, politics, and sociology. It aims to provide a stimulating research-oriented environment for postgraduate students (about 75 in number) and faculty (approximately 60 academic fellows). The college, which was founded in 1937, is located on a site on the western side of Oxford city centre. The land on which the college stands, which was formerly the city's principal canal basin and coal wharfs, was donated to the university by William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield (Lord Nuffield). Restrictions on construction after the Second World War meant that work on the college was not completed until 1960.

The original plan for the college to occupy land on both sides of Worcester Street was scaled down as a result of budget and material shortages, and to this day the land to the west of the college is occupied by a "temporary" car park. The architectural aesthetic of the final design, particularly the tower and its fleche (small spire), has attracted some criticism; unlike the other "dreaming spires" of Oxford, Nuffield's tower is a masonry-clad steel-framed book-stack, housing the college library.

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