University of Oxford gains planning permission for glazed Chemistry building
One of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions, the University of Oxford, is to receive a new £170m Chemistry Laboratory complex designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (fjmt). The ambitious designs gained planning permission last week following a unanimous vote from Oxford City Council’s West Area Planning Committee.
In keeping with the multitude of traditional heritage buildings in the city (a large number of which are used by the University) fjmt’s design incorporates a complex facade system comprised of automated shaped timber louvres set within a highly transparent glazed and ventilated cavity.
Despite the contemporary appearance of this addition, much care has been taken to complement the hue, scale and texture of the surrounding stone structures. The louvres also enable the building’s users to personally monitor the amount of natural light entering their internal environment as well as the extent to which natural ventilation is used.
Currently the University of Oxford Chemistry Department operates from a number of solitary buildings constructed between 1916 and 1959 which are grossly underdeveloped for use as scientific research facilities. The main Chemistry Research Laboratory will be connected to fjmt’s new Chemistry Oxford building through an underground channel or ‘street’ which will be light-filled and designed to encourage inter-building communication and collaboration.
Taking inspiration from the majority of Oxford University’s existing buildings, Chemistry Oxford will incorporate a number of landscaped open spaces including a ‘Chemistry Green’ for social events and relaxation purposes. On a similar plane, fjmt’s designs aim to reach at least an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating, with hopes to gain a title of ‘Outstanding’.