This project will bring together researchers from a number of outdated buildings across the university estate to create a world class research centre, in doing so transforming the capabilities of one of the largest physics departments in the world.
The Beecroft Building for scientific research has achieved planning consent and is now on site in one of the most sensitive contexts in Oxford, having satisfied demanding briefs set by both client and planning authority.
The new building completes the Physics Department complex in the Science Area. This prominent site is at the entrance to the University Parks, opposite Sir William Butterfield's Grade I Listed Keble College Chapel among prominent, historic trees. The new building will complete a new court in front of the existing Physics Laboratories and Lecture Theatres, creating an identifiable gateway to the University Estate along Parks Road.
Theoretical Physics is collected around a dynamic 'thinking' space that encourages and focuses interaction between researchers. The building form has been designed with the immersive involvement of the current research team to transform the practice of Physics in Oxford and attract new students, new researchers and new funding. Below ground, the practice of Experimental Physics requires very stable, 'black box' laboratory spaces to carry out highly sensitive research in a very controlled environment.
Despite the highly serviced nature of the project the design achieves a BREEAM Excellent rating.
“It will contain state-of-the art labs, comparable to the very best world-wide, and will enable us to do research that is impossible in our current facilities.”
Professor John Wheater, Head of Physics Department, University of Oxford
Boasting five below ground levels, the delivery of the Beecroft Building commenced with the construction of a perimeter secant pile wall to enable the excavation of a 16m deep basement. In order to stabilise the piles and adjacent existing buildings during this process ground anchors were drilled sideways into the ground at various levels. In June 2016 following nine months of ground works the Beecroft Building finally bottomed out. The sub and superstructure, a combination of primarily in-situ and precast concrete, was erected within the following eight months. The curtain wall system which covers the majority of the external envelope swiftly followed and is now awaiting installation of the pre-oxidised copper fins which is due to commence in June 2017.
With the project due for completion in Spring 2018, the internal fit out and installation of the feature balustrade within the atrium space are also progressing well.