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Francis-Jones Morehen Thorps proposal for the new chemistry laboratory complex at the University of Oxford in the UK has been granted planning permission by the Oxford City Council.
The new facility will deliver an additional 20,000sqm of flexible floor space for the Chemistry Research Laboratory, which is currently spread over four different buildings. The £170m (AUD$254m) project will deliver state-of-the-art research facilities for the Universitys chemistry department.
FJMTs design features a façade of automated, shaped timber louvres set within a transparent glazed and ventilated cavity. This double skin system provides the new building with a rich vertically grained materials quality that is intended to complement the colour, scale and texture of some of Oxfords finest heritage architecture, say the architects. The louvres allow occupant control of natural light and views, and afford the option for natural ventilation and mixed-mode operation for workplace areas.
The project also builds on the Universitys traditional for open spaces around each of its schools, providing a public space outside the facility called Chemistry Green.
The design team working on the project say the building will serve as an architectural benchmark for the sciences. Over 80 research laboratories will be delivered along with analytical, technological and support facilities, advanced teaching laboratories and lecture theatres. An underground street will connect the new building with the existing Chemistry Research Laboratory.
The new facility will target a minimum BREEAM Excellent rating, and is being designed to have the lowest possible energy use for a building of its type. Currently, the design is targeting a 25-50 percent reduction in energy use from the existing Chemistry Research Laboratory.