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Unique and united

  • A new research centre and science lab for the University of Oxford
  • An individual but connected design
  • One of five Make buildings for Oxford’s Old Road campus

In this wonderful new building, the institute will go from strength to strength as a world-class centre for medical research.

James Davis
Chairman, Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research

Project Details

Location Oxford, UK
Status Built (2013)
Sectors Education and research, Interiors
Area 7,500m²/80,700ft²
Client University of Oxford

In 2011 the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, an international centre for research into the inflammatory sciences, relocated from London to join the University of Oxford. We were appointed to design a new home for the institute – a laboratory, training facility and teaching hub all in one. Our aim was to create a building that’s distinctive in its own right but still syncs with the other ones on campus, including the Make-designed Old Road Campus Research Building (ORCRB).

To make the KIR building stand out, we placed a corner setback that gives the front elevation an asymmetric twist – one further emphasised by the symmetry of the upper-level facades and ground-level social space. Other distinctive features include a glass and steel staircase in the atrium and a generous roof terrace.

To make it fit in, we designed a well-defined sequence of entrance spaces to correspond with the wider campus layout, and used vertical cladding that matches that of its neighbours. The glass panels we opted for create alternating reflective and matte strips that play on the reflections in the ORCRB’s green cladding.

The result is a singular structure with a familial link to its neighbours. It’s a proud centre for the institute – a fresh facility for furthering its vital research.