Oxford University

Oxford University has commissioned a large number of buildings in the past fifteen years, many for the expansion of world-leading research in science and medicine, together with major new facilities for the humanities and social sciences. The total university estate has grown by about 5% per year over this period to total 590,000 m2 in 235 buildings. According to the Estates Department website (Nov 2014), if all current plans are fully realised this will  increase by a further 43% to reach 836,000 m2. Two large masterplan developments stand out, both on former hospital sites: the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, and the Old Road Campus; other major projects are on site in the Science Area; and there is further planned development at Begbrooke Science Park and the Iffley Road Sports Centre. Blueprint recently confirmed (Sept 2016) that the University’s estate expanded by 25% in the last decade.

That’s a lot of building, but is it any good? With a few exceptions, the architectural quality of recent university buildings is remarkably high, including significant work by several leading architects, some of which may prove to be exceptional.

Buildings featured