Modern Gateway to Oxford

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Oxford Brookes unveils plans for dynamic new building and public square that will transform Headington Campus.

Oxford Brookes’ Headington campus is set to be transformed by a dynamic new building and public square that will change the face of the University.

The new building forms the centrepiece of the University’s £150 million campus redevelopment programme. The University has announced the programme to ensure that its estate matches the University’s reputation for innovation, high quality, and sustainability.

Andrew Smith, MP for East Oxford, has seen Brookes' proposals and called them "bold, attractive and imaginative".

The student centre building provides 22,000 m2 of floor space over five storeys and brings together the University’s existing library, teaching spaces, computing facilities, group study space, student services and student union facilities. It will replace buildings which have already been demolished or are scheduled for demolition when the new building is complete. There are no plans for significant growth in student numbers.

One of the most striking features of the building is a stunning arrival atrium which will create a commanding presence for the University on the Headington Road. The University will be on display through an energy efficient glass frontage.

Rex Knight, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “This building has been three years in the planning and has involved considerable consultation with staff, students and the community. I am sure that it will not only transform the experience students have at Brookes but also be an exciting addition to the architectural landscape of Oxford.

“The new student centre is about providing much more than just a new lecture theatre and library – it’s about creating inspiring spaces that integrate learning, technology and collaborative working.

“We have seen in other universities how an investment in buildings can revolutionise the way students learn. We want our students to spend more time on campus after a lecture or tutorial sharing ideas, working in groups and developing new skills. Our vision is of a building which combines traditional library and teaching space with more flexible space in which students can work together or in groups, access computers, and make use of the full range of our student services transforming the ways in which our students learn.

“It’s important to stress that this building is not about expanding Brookes. The existing student and staff community will only grow by 1% to 2% a year and this will be mostly at postgraduate level and by providing more educational opportunities for local people.

“Our proposals have considerable benefits for people in Oxford as well. The creation of a new public square on Headington Road will provide an exciting space for public art in what is a highly visible venue which millions of people already pass by every year. This will add to the County Council’s road, pavement and lighting improvements in Headington, to which Brookes has already contributed £500,000.

“The combination of a new public square, new public art and the striking glass design of the building will help create a modern gateway for Oxford to complement the historic city centre.

“Other University facilities that are currently tucked away inside the campus and are seen as inaccessible for many local people will be located directly off the public square, including banks, shops and cafes and the University’s osteopathy clinic. The new lecture theatre will also host the University’s highly popular public lecture series.”

The new student centre will concentrate university life in one highly energy efficient area and this will help to reduce our overall carbon footprint. The building is designed to achieve one of the highest ratings set out for environmental standards with features rainwater harvesting and a green roof to reduce water run-off.

Public exhibition

Consultation forums for the community, staff and students run until Saturday 22 November.

The exhibition is being held in the Buckley Building, Gipsy Lane, on:

  • Friday 14 November: 4.00pm - 8.00pm
  • Saturday 15 November: 10.00am - 4.00pm
  • Thursday 20 November: 4.00pm - 8.00pm
  • Friday 21 November: 4.00pm - 8.00pm
  • Saturday 22 November: 10.00am - 4.00pm

People can also see the proposals and give feedback online at

Find out more…