The London studio of global architects Perkins and Will have designed a new office and laboratory accommodation for innovation and research in Oxford.
Perkins and Will have been given the green light for the designs of two new buildings on Plot 16 in The Oxford Science Park, a leading UK science and technology park.
Upon completion, the new buildings will contribute 168,000 sq ft of flexible office and laboratory space to the 500,000 sq ft expansion planned for The Oxford Science Park by 2025.
With strong links to the University of Oxford, Perkins and Will’s vision for new commercial and laboratory spaces at The Oxford Science Park will provide flexible and creative space for world-class scientific collaboration between academia, research and commerce.
Research from BNP Paribas has suggested that investment in science, and related administrative and support services, is set to see a 43 per cent increase in value over the next ten years, doubling even further to be worth a total of £560bn by 2038.
Plot 16 is a linear site at the North-East corner of the park between railway tracks and Littlemore Brook, with a future rail station planned by Network Rail next to the site.
Perkins and Will took this planned connectivity as inspiration to turn Plot 16 into a public-facing gateway for the wider park, as well as the surrounding area.
To achieve flexibility and a dynamic relationship, Perkins and Will designed each building as two bars joined to a core, with an alcove on each end to bring more light in and create a clear arrival area at each end. To respond to the wider context and accommodate the future connectivity of the park, the scheme proposes a series of plazas at different levels and locations as arrival, gathering and resting places.
This flexibility and creativity in Perkins and Will’s design further helped tackle the challenge of Plot 16 being situated in a flood zone. This requires the buildings to be raised onto a plaza to prevent them from flooding, but still allow the water table and the brook to perform its natural function.
Perkins and Will took inspiration from the movement of the railway and brook to design the elevations with vertical elements with a horizontal rhythm. The rhythm is in turn responding to the orientation and sun exposure.
The combination of flexible interior and exterior design, with the wealth of public space created will ensure that the site can accommodate the future needs of the park and drive interaction, innovation, and creativity across the various industries and STEM researchers housed at this world-leading hub.