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An innovative research hub

  • Unites six leading biomedical research institutions
  • Strengthens links between research and clinical treatment
  • Blends with its green surroundings

By establishing a standard grid across 14,000m², we delivered a laboratory space that’s adaptable for years to come. We complemented this with a ‘courtyard’ atrium that provides a strong identity and heart.

Justin Nicholls
Lead project architect, Make

Project Details

Location Oxford, UK
Status Built 2007
Sectors Education and research,
Area 14,000m²/150,000ft²
Client University of Oxford

The Old Road Campus Research Building brings together six world-leading cancer research institutions and forms the gateway to the University of Oxford’s campus. We designed the state-of-the-art facility to encourage interaction and collaboration between multiple institutions and departments.

Our design breaks down the building into three zones: laboratories, flexible space, and office and write-up space. These facilities are set around two atria that form the social heart of the four-storey structure, and offer a contemporary reinterpretation of a traditional university quad. Within this social heart are dramatic ribbons of cast concrete staircases, a café and a knowledge centre – spaces that draw people in and through the building.

Along with a highly efficient plant that offers reduced energy consumption, we included an orientation-specific facade and a high-performance cladding system, both of which minimise solar gain. The latter features a distinctive spectrum of greens that visually harmonise with the mature planting surrounding the site.

The building’s close proximity to Oxford’s main hospitals has resulted in strengthened links between cutting-edge research and clinical treatment. We’re not the only ones who think it’s a success – in 2009 the building received a Commendation at the Concrete Society awards.