- Location Oxford, UK
- Status Built
- Service Architecture
- Sector Education and research
- Area 17,000m²/183,000ft²
- Client The University of Oxford
The Innovation Building is Make’s sixth for the University of Oxford, and our fifth on the Old Road Campus. Located at the main campus entrance, it is now home to Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk and the new BioEscalator, a workspace for biomedical start-ups. The aim for the university and the companies housed there is to enable collaboration between commercial and academic researchers.
The building also provides a centralised car park for the estate and a distribution centre for campus-wide deliveries. Together, these facilities help to greatly reduce through-traffic, which had previously created an unfriendly environment for pedestrians.
The cladding design – inspired by the numerous trees on site – expresses and unifies these different uses. Aluminium fins, some twisting, some flat, clad the car park. We used a digital script to create a pattern of twists which, from afar, create the appearance of tree silhouettes across the facade. The laboratory portion, meanwhile, is clad in vertical, alternating bands of stacked window boxes and opaque glass panelling, with straight, vertical fins articulating each section. The double-glazed opaque panels are fritted with four different leaf patterns from trees on site, which can only be seen from up close.
Internally, the building’s two functions are separated by ‘The Cut’, a 5-storey atrium with acoustic European oak cladding and a full-height stair that links the functions and provides vertical access.