Following an invited design competition, the University of Oxford has tasked internationally-renowned architecture practice NBBJ to design a new home for the Departments of Experimental Psychology, Plant Sciences and Zoology, provisionally called the Centre for Life and Mind Sciences. The building will enable increased collaboration and knowledge exchange between the different disciplines.
NBBJ’s design will enhance teaching and research facilities for students, staff and researchers – further elevating the reputation of the University’s Science Area and setting a new standard for research buildings within the University of Oxford estate.
The centre will provide laboratories for undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers, as well as lecture theatres, specialised support laboratories and opportunities for public engagement.
Terraced office floors will connect labs, study and social spaces, while incorporating additional rooms for teaching and administration services. A flexible, welcoming space will run through the building, providing light-flooded breakout areas for impromptu meetings, presentations and social events.
The new building aims to facilitate the University’s public and schools outreach through shared spaces for art, exhibitions, lectures and conferences, offering a “window into science.”
Whilst it will occupy the same site as the existing building, it will enhance this gateway to Oxford’s Science Area and create an exciting public space with better connections to the surrounding area.
Professor Chris Kennard, the University of Oxford’s Senior Responsible Owner for the project, said:
“I am delighted that NBBJ and their team have been selected to lead on the design for the new Centre for Life and Mind Sciences. I have no doubt that, working with the users and the project team that we have already established, they will create an outstanding building to house the world-class teaching and research provided by our departments of Experimental Psychology, Plant Sciences and Zoology.”
Darius Umrigar, Science & Higher Education Director at NBBJ, said: “The new Centre for Life and Mind Sciences will house best-in-class research and teaching facilities, which underline the University of Oxford’s reputation as one of the leading academic institutions in the world. Modern science is becoming increasingly collaborative and our designs will provide an inviting space that will support innovative thinking and multi-disciplinary communication between students and researchers with different specialisms, while encouraging engagement with the wider community.”
Ingo Braun, Design Director at NBBJ, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to work on the new Centre for Life and Mind Sciences. The building is designed to provide a welcoming, practical space for staff and students alike, not only facilitating learning and scientific research, but also enhancing occupants’ wellbeing and comfort, through flexible, light-filled spaces. We are looking forward to bringing our experience of designing innovative science and education buildings to this prestigious project.”
The new building will replace the existing Tinbergen Building, which closed in 2017. Preliminary discussions are being held with Oxford City Council and will continue during 2019, including a programme of public consultation and engagement to further inform the design.
(Photo courtesy Google Earth.)