The University of Oxford and internationally-renowned architecture practice NBBJ have unveiled images of the new Life and Mind Building. The development, the University’s largest building project in its history, will be the new home of the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Biology, including Plant Sciences and Zoology, accommodating 800 students and 1,200 researchers.
Located between Oxford’s listed University Parks, the Science Area, and its historic town center, replacing the existing Tinbergen Building closed in 2017, the £202m building celebrates emerging fields and collaborative approaches. With a gross internal area of 25,000m2, the intervention aims to engage research departments, collaborators, the public, and industry, under targeted critical global impact themes. In fact, “NBBJ’s design provides an inviting space to support innovative thinking and multi-disciplinary communication between students and researchers with different specialisms”.
Highlighting the engagement between the fields of research and education, the scheme is highly flexible, designed to suit multiple laboratory types. Including space for teaching, flexible and specialist bio-science laboratories for research, as well as a wide range of cutting-edge testing spaces, the project also provides shielded rooms, Eye tracking and Retinal Scanner facilities, an audio booth, a multisensory kitchen, group testing spaces, VR and motor lab, and sleep laboratory.
Following an immensely collaborative period of engagement with the departments and University, we are proud to have designed a light-filled, welcoming, and flexible space for staff and students which can be public-facing but also facilitate the world-class learning and scientific research the University is known for. The design will enhance the experience and wellbeing of the building’s many occupants and visitors, promoting retention and attraction of world-class talent in life and mind research. -- Ingo Braun, Design Director at NBBJ London.
Consisting of two main blocks connected by a terraced atrium, the project puts in place a first element “suitable for laboratories as well as office space, and a terraced office wing which optimizes access to views, light, and nature, suitable for dry-labs and collaborative work environments”. Merging with Oxford’s historic college buildings, the facades will use reconstituted stone, punched windows, and projecting buttresses. In order to test the building’s contribution to Oxford’s skyline, NBBJ used computational mapping tools. These devices also contributed to develop the required sustainability standards, test the balance of solid insulated walls to windows, and calculate the right amount of sun shading. A public consultation event is scheduled for early June 2020, and a planning application will be made to Oxford City Council in July 2020.
- Architecture: NBBJ
- Specialist Heritage Consultant: Purcell
- Structural Engineers: Ramboll
- Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: Hoare Lea
- Landscape Architecture: Fira