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University of Oxford Beecroft Building / Hawkins\Brown

University of Oxford Beecroft Building / Hawkins\Brown

© Jack Hobhouse © Jack Hobhouse © Jack Hobhouse © Jack Hobhouse + 24

University  · 
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
  • Architects Authors of this architecture project Hawkins\Brown
  • Area Area of this architecture project
    8950.0 m2
  • Project Year Brands with products used in this architecture project
    2018
  • Photographs

  • Main Contractor

    Laing O’Rourke
  • Project Manager

    WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Quantity Surveyor

    Turner & Townsend
  • M&E Engineer

    Hoare Lea
  • Structural Engineer

    Peter Brett Associates
  • Landscape Architects

    BD Landscape
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© Jack Hobhouse
© Jack Hobhouse

Text description provided by the architects. Hawkins\Brown was appointed by the University of Oxford in 2009 to design the new theoretical and experimental physics building. The University’s vision was for a collaborative working environment that would sit alongside cutting edge laboratories to provide unprecedented facilities for the university’s world-leading research in Physics.

© Jack Hobhouse
© Jack Hobhouse

The site allotted for the new building presented a number of challenging constraints for the designers. At the junction of Parks Road and Keble Road in the north east of Oxford City Centre, the prominent location sits in close proximity to several listed buildings, notably the grade I listed neo-gothic buildings of Keble College, designed in the 1870s by William Butterfield. A protected cedar tree sits adjacent to the main entrance and the site is also enclosed by Oxford’s Central City Conservation Area on two sides. The building enjoys expansive views across the University Parks to the north and its massing has been arranged to respond to the varied local context, which contains a range of scales and settings.

Model © Jack Hobhouse
Model © Jack Hobhouse

The building is clad in a combination of bronze, glass and expanded copper mesh insert panels with a grid of naturally weathering bronze fins. The rhythm, vertical emphasis and colour respond to the upright gothic style of Keble College. Large picture windows frame views into and out of the internal collaboration spaces, creating visual connections between activities within the building and its context.

© Jack Hobhouse
© Jack Hobhouse

Buildings in central Oxford are restricted by the city’s “Carfax Height” policy, which limits new buildings within 1.2km of Carfax Tower in the centre of Oxford to 18m in height. In order to fit the full complement of accommodation required by the university onto the site, including an extensive amount of services and plant to achieve extremely stable and tightly controlled laboratory environments, the development of a 16 metre-deep basement was necessary. This houses two floors of facilities that meet the highest global standards.

© Jack Hobhouse
© Jack Hobhouse

Within the robust basement floors, structurally isolated “black box” laboratories that require onerous standards of vibration isolation have been created. These are housed on top of monolithic concrete keel slabs, the heaviest of which weighs 54 tonnes, and are mounted on sophisticated damping systems to provide a stable platform for nano- scale experiments that are otherwise sensitive enough to be affected by vibration sources that include the M40 Motorway, nine miles to the east.

© Jack Hobhouse
© Jack Hobhouse

Major plant equipment is housed in a sub-basement with a physical break between the structures to isolate any vibration that may affect experiments.

Despite the heavy servicing of the Experimental Physics laboratories, Hawkins\Brown’s building achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.

Section Diagram © Wigwam Visual
Section Diagram © Wigwam Visual

The central atrium, through which rises a series of stairs and landings, provides a focal point for the building and establishes continuity between the two halves. The landings are equipped with blackboards and informal seating and act as stages, facilitating presentations by researchers and encouraging them to test, discuss and develop their ideas together. This is supported by strong visual links across the atrium and into individual research offices. This aspect is in line with the university’s vision for the Department to break with the traditional academic working model and learn from industry to transform its working methods. 

© Jack Hobhouse
© Jack Hobhouse

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Project location

Address: Oxford OX1 3PU, United Kingdom

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "University of Oxford Beecroft Building / Hawkins\Brown" 17 Sep 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/902141/university-of-oxford-beecroft-building-hawkins-brown/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Jim Stephenson

牛津大学教学楼 Beecroft,被雪松环绕的‘黑盒子’建筑 / Hawkins\Brown

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