University of Oxford
Teaching and research building for the Department of Physics (Hawkins\Brown 2018)
“An absolutely astounding space in which every scientific detail has been thought through and delivered with a finesse and refinement that is incomparable . . . The resultant outcome is superb.” RIBA awards citation
Occupying a prominent corner site on Parks Road, opposite Keble Chapel and next to the University Parks, there were high expectations of the quality and visual appearance of this new building for the Physics Department. Above ground the 5-storey building conforms with city centre height restrictions and relates well to its neighbours; below ground are 5 additional floors of basements housing sensitive research equipment for atomic-level experiments, requiring exceptional levels of isolation against noise and vibration.
Architecturally it is a finely detailed and subtly coloured building that has been highly praised for its refinement and sophistication. A delightful atrium space incorporates multiple flights of stairs, balconies and landings, intended for active use as meeting and teaching spaces. Like other science departments, Physics states its support of open and collaborative working amongst its theoretical and experimental academics, who now share the same building. With its nod to Herman Herzberger’s pioneering office building, Centraal Beheer (1972), surely this multi-level space will contribute to the sociability of the department.
Awards: RIBA National Award 2019; RIBA South Building of the Year Award 2019;