OXFORD UNIVERSITY

Location: Oxford, UK
Scope: University Masterplan
Area: 112,000sqm
Stage: Masterplan completed 2006
Budget: £325 million
Client: University of Oxford
Architect: Rafael Viñoly Architects

Located approximately one kilometre north of the city centre, the Radcliffe Infirmary Site features a number of historically significant buildings. The master plan creates a network of blocks and streets around the Radcliffe Observatory, replacing obsolete structures and creating spaces for new development. Throughout the entire site, curb-free paving creates a share space for pedestrians, cyclists and university service vehicles.
 
The schedule of accommodation for this University of Oxford site includes the headquarters of the university’s administration facility, the Institute of Humanities, the Institute of Mathematics, the Faculty for Life and Environmental Sciences and a research hotel. In addition, a vast new library facility serving all the above faculties is proposed as the central organising element of the site.
 
The masterplan maximises the capacity of the site whilst balancing density with the historic surroundings. Due to the height restrictions on the site versus the vast programme required, an obvious requirement was to open up space below grade.
 
The masterplan both maintains and creates new vistas and visual corridors to historically significant buildings. The open space strategy tested three options against different building densities: a Central Plaza, peripheral open spaces and covered open spaces. The peripheral open spaces solution proved most workable.