Traditional meets technical

  • A boost for biomedical research at Oxford University
  • Unites heritage and technology
  • Timber contrasts with white glass and metal

[This] will pioneer new advances in the analysis of medical data which can help scientists to better understand human disease and its treatment.

David Cameron
Former prime minister, UK

Project Details

Location Oxford, UK
Status Built 2017
Sectors Education and research,
Area 7,400m²/76,700ft²
Client The University of Oxford

The Big Data Institute (BDI) is our fourth building on the University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus. A key aspect of the brief was to create a space that unites the best of the traditional academic environment with the best of today’s commercial workplace.

Big data – and big design too. The building wraps around a spectacular 4-storey atrium, its walls curving at the front in an elegant prow, creating a new landscaped space in front of the entrance. Inside, the aesthetics of academia and science collide. Timber ribbons and a dramatic timber staircase recall the richness of Oxford’s traditional academic buildings. In contrast, white glass and metal in the main entrance, data hall and seminar rooms express its digital and scientific ambitions.

It’s the combination the university was after – striking a balance between the academic and contemporary that creates an impressive, interactive space to work. Here 550 academics, from post-doctorates to world-leading professors, will collect, store and analyse vast amounts of complex biomedical information. This new building will be instrumental to their pioneering research and medical advances.