Architecture & History

The unexpected architectural gem in Oxford

Officially opened in 1962 (although with heritage dating back to the 19th Century), St Catherine’s, or ‘Catz’ as it is fondly known, is the youngest mixed College in Oxford. Designed by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, the original buildings and gardens showcase his unique modernist take on college design. A revelation at the time of its construction, St Catherine’s has now become an icon of the wave of Modernist design which swept the country in the 1960s and continues to be a dynamic presence within the Collegiate of Colleges which help to form the University of Oxford. A College both steeped in and extremely proud of our distinctive style and design heritage, Catz remains a vibrant and fascinating place to visit to this day.


We welcome guests interested in the architectural history of the site as well as those discovering Jacobsen’s designs for the first time and we offer all of our visitors a distinctive and original Oxford College experience. If you are an architect or design enthusiast, please contact us to discuss any specific packages we may be able to offer to you and/or your firm.


Please click here to view our College History Factsheet and a gardens-and-grounds-tour-factsheet 

Further information about Arne Jacobsen can be found by clicking the Case Study link to the right of this screen.

"Most colleges in Oxford are surrounded by high walls but St Catherine's lies open, and when I came here for the first time, I couldnt understand why the student's gowns often were so torn. I was told that they used them to place on broken glass on top of the walls, when they came back late. So I dropped the wall.   Politiken, 24 July 1964"
Arne Jacobsen on his design for the College walls

Central Oxford location

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    Manor Road
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