The Beecroft Building University of Oxford
Client University of Oxford
Awards RIBA South Award 2019 and RIBA South Building of the Year Award 2019
The Beecroft Building is an immaculately designed addition to Oxford University. As the first new building to the Physics Department in 50 years, it has completely transformed the capabilities and working behaviours of one of the largest physics departments in the world. A sophisticated, erudite design that is testament to the project team’s close alliance and hard work. An absolutely astounding space in which every scientific detail has been thought through and delivered with a finesse and refinement that is incomparable.
The environmental and anti-vibration performance of the high specification laboratories is amongst the very best worldwide. The facilities will host ground-breaking experiments reliant on stabilised environments, therefore the architects had to work in close partnership with clients, contractors and the Department’s researchers to achieve a precise design that is unparalleled globally. The complex of basement laboratories below ground, reaching a depth of 16-metres, has been exquisitely constructed with incredible care given to achieving specific technological performance requirements.
Sited in a sensitive location amongst several listed buildings, a conservation area and historic trees, the articulated façade, volumetric massing and material aesthetic have been consciously designed in harmony with the local vicinity. The combination of bronze, glass and expanded copper mesh create a metallic rhythm to the building that is contemporary in execution, whilst complementing the surrounding context. The vertical emphasis and hue of the naturally weathering bronze fins embolden the tempo of the façade. The large picture windows form a visual connection between the researchers within, looking to the future, and the local context, which is steeped in historical significance. The synergy of past, present and future are all whirred into one contemplative creation that inspires collective communication and a renewed thirst for innovation. Internally, coworking areas, arranged around curving blackboards and timber balustrades with metallic orbs hanging like expanded reflective atoms, provide informal areas for discussion and debate. The Department’s design challenges pre-conceived norms about academic environments with these breakout spaces for collaborative open working, further encouraging the exchange of ideas on the fundamental laws of nature.
A research facility like no other, an incredible feat of engineering and architecture. The resultant outcome is superb. The synthesis of interior and exterior visuals, rigorous attention to detail and clever technological elements culminate to form a truly world-class facility. The excellent relationship between client, architect and contractor has propelled this project forward to become an unrivalled winner.
Internal area 7,900 m²
Contractor Laing O'Rourke
Project Management WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Turner & Townsend
Environmental / M&E Engineers Hoare Lea
Structural Engineers Peter Brett Associates
Acoustic Engineers Hoare Lea
Landscape Architects BD Landscape
Sustainability Engineers Hoare Lea
CDM Consultant Scott White & Hookins