Work starts on Rafael Viñoly's spacious Mathematical Institute for redbrick university
Rafael Viñoly Architects’ project at the University of Oxford, Mathematical Institute has officially broken ground. The new building will both consolidate a department that was previously spread across multiple locations and foster an environment that balances academics’ need for privacy with the increasing importance of interdisciplinary collaboration.
Rafael Viñoly Architects was commissioned to provide a design solution that provided a new, centralised building for the entire department of Mathematics. RVA’s design features an atrium that stretches nearly the entire length of the building in order to encourage collaboration by enabling visual connections and impromptu meetings between faculty members on all floors. The new structure will facilitate the increasingly important collaboration among researchers, whilst balancing the researchers’ continued needs for privacy and concentration.
The new Mathematical Institute will provide workspace for a diverse community of over 500 mathematical researchers and support staff, including faculty, research fellows and postgraduate students. It will also be a centre for the academic life of approximately 900 undergraduates. The building will house 3 theatres, the largest of which will hold 366 seats and provide a much needed venue for department and university wide events and lectures.
The Mathematical Institute has adopted a traditional model for faculty offices, in keeping with the type of work performed. This manifests itself on the elevation of the building through the cellular stone grid which holds the offices. The elevation also engages with the occupant through individually operated solar screens, further drawing the use and occupation of the interior space to express and animate the exterior.
As mathematicians often require spaces devoid of noise, faculty members’ offices will be acoustically isolated to maintain the required decibel levels. It will also aid recruitment by providing ample space for graduate students and sizable offices for senior faculty – both features that will continue to attract talent and increase the reputation, research capabilities, and income of the department.