For a long time now, our church has been one of the few buildings in Oxford that doesn't have it own quad!
The new cloister, or cortile, should rectify that problem, while also solving a number of practical ones.
Firstly, some kind of outdoor area is needed as a fire escape from the parish centre, library and Newman Chapel. Some outdoor space is also needed so that light can reach the windows of all those buildings.
But since we needed to leave some outdoor space anyway, we thought it might as well provide practical benefits too!
A cloister is a common feature in religious buildings, and provides a peaceful semi-outdoor area that can be used by all for quiet reflection. It is covered, so can be used whatever the weather. The upper levels will be sealed, and are actually the corridors linking the Library, accommodation and Chapel.
But what we are most looking forward to is, when it is all finished, being able to open the french doors of the parish centre on St Aloysius day during the Parish party, and being able to step out into the beautiful courtyard lit by the setting summer sun.
The centre of the cloister will contain a small fountain. Around it will be planted a small garden. The cloister of the Roman Oratory is famous for its orange and lemon trees. While somewhat smaller, we hope that what we grow will be no less impressive.