Abercrombie official opening event

Friday, 12 July 2013


Shami Chakrabarti was joined by Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Beer in welcoming students, staff and special guests to the official opening of the Abercrombie building.

Describing the new building as “absolutely exquisite”, Shami Chakrabarti went onto to say “this is just 20 per cent of what we are going to have here. This is the beginning of a great modern cathedral of learning.”

Staff, alumni, councillors and local employers with a link to the built environment were amongst the attendees. The event started with a presentation by Janet Beer and a question and answer session with a panel. This provided an opportunity to update guests on the Higher Education Sector, plus Oxford Brookes’ achievements and plans for the future.

Guests were then invited to enjoy a drink in the Central Courtyard to celebrate the official opening of the Abercrombie building. After the building opening speeches, attendees were then treated to a short performance. Actors used various levels and bridges to great effect and performed a number of speeches, including an extract from Vers une Architecture (This is Architecture), by Le Corbusier highlighting what makes a building more than just a building. John Henry Brookes was also quoted from a speech he made in 1954, about the opening of the original Headington Campus.

The redevelopment has modernised the existing Abercrombie building and effectively doubled its size with a modern extension that is connected by coloured glass bridges spanning a towering full-height atrium. The Abercrombie Extension, which has been in use since July 2012, is particularly focused on the needs of our built environment students. The open-plan work areas encourage close working, collaboration and idea sharing between disciplines and year groups.

Speaking at the opening event, Professor Beer commented: “It has been very exciting for our students to be in this space. I don’t think there could be a clearer signal of the commitment we are making to our students.”

Matt Gaskin, the Head of Oxford Brookes’ School of Architecture, echoed how the Abercrombie space is changing the working patterns of students. In this short video, which also includes students’ views, he notes how students have become more collaborative and are now spending more time on campus.

The Official Opening of Abercrombie is the precursor to a number of other events that will celebrate the opening of the John Henry Brookes Building. To keep up to update with all these events you can follow us on twitter @space_to_think.