New Biochemistry Building

Oxford University

New accommodation for the Biochemistry Department (Hawkins\Brown, 2008).

“positively embraces and encourages social interaction and the fertilisation of ideas [and] brings art, architecture and science together under a single roof.” Howard Watson

This innovative building consolidated almost all of the Biochemistry Department on a single site, and introduced a new spatial model for teaching and research. Laboratory spaces, offices and teaching rooms are organised around a dramatic central atrium space, rising through six storeys. It was designed with the conscious intention of stimulating chance meetings, social interaction and collaboration within the department, and this has been judged a success by Professor Kim Nasmyth, Head of Biochemistry:

“This is a beautiful, innovative and functional building. It allows conversations to happen that wouldn’t otherwise take place in a thousand years.”

Coloured glass fins on the main facades brighten the narrow streets in the heart of the University Science Area, and filter light into the building interior. A second phase of the building is planned.

References: Howard Watson, ‘Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford’, Architectural Design, 961, 2009, pp. 108-13.

Awards: RIBA 2009

University Science Area, off South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QU

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