Page 24 - MODUS NEWS 04
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university of
Left photograph ©Keith Collie, all other photographs ©Tim Crocker and image by Hawkins\Brown
Oxford’s Biochemistry Building, which houses what many consider to
be the highest-rated Life Sciences department within a UK university, is internationally known for its research in the areas of DNA, cell growth, and immunity. The new building provides a pioneering model for university research and teaching environments by reversing the accepted “norm” of leaving the areas where researchers monitor their experiments on computers, collect and process data, and then establish their scientific conclusions disassociated with the building’s exterior. Instead, the new
12 000 square meter building promotes a collaborative environment among researchers (postgraduate and undergraduate), academics, technicians, and administrators in an embracing four-story, interactive atrium.
The laboratories are wrapped around the outside of the plan to create open views that allow daylight and contact with the busy audience of a university campus. This design helps break down the public’s suspicion of research facilities by making all department activities entirely transparent.
Biochemistry Building
“The building is surrounded by a series of colored glass fins that pick up the colors of brick and stone from the surrounding historic structures,” said Russell Brown, partner at Hawkins\Brown. “In turn, the glass casts colored reflections onto the building during the day and outwards, into the public realm, at night.” Morag Morrison, the partner in charge of interior design at Hawkins\Brown, guided this color scheme, as well as the installation of the art objects through a program they dubbed “Salt Bridges.”
fThe Biochemistry Building design won national and local RIBA awards and the wAN Colour in Architecture Award. The “Salt Bridges” installation also earned several awards and is the subject of a monograph.
Oxford subsequently appointed Hawkins\Brown to design the masterplan of the core of the Science Area. The project will look to create new, pedestrian-friendly spaces, separating vehicle servicing routes and car parking areas from car-free zones, and establish the envelope for a series of new science buildings.

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