FJMT to design new facility at Oxford University

Jan 10, 2011
  • Article by Online Editor

Australian firm Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) has been appointed to design a new research and teaching facility for the chemistry department at Oxford University in the UK.

FJMT won the design competition for the new facility, winning out over other shortlisted practices MAKE, RMJM, Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

The new development, Chemistry Research Laboratory 2 (CRL2), will provide an additional 20,000sqm of floor space and together with the existing Chemistry Research Laboratory 1 (CRL1) will create a world-class facility at one of the world’s top ranking universities.

Richard Francis-Jones said the building would become “a new centre and heart of the science precinct at Oxford University… In addition to the extensive specialist research laboratories and work environments, our proposal creates new open space at the heart of the precinct, Chemistry Green, that will orientate and add amenity and significance to the new building in the tradition f Oxford University’s historic campus landmarks.”

FJMT’s design is described as an “explosion of architectural form which is open, welcoming and dramatic,” while also complementing the surrounding heritage streetscape and scale of the university.

“FJMT are to be commended in the way the design integrates with existing buildings, respects sensitivities, and provides a building which is clearly orientated and defined, creates a setting, promotes identity and ensures a sense of arrival,” said Professor Steve Davies, Waynflete Professor of Chemistry & Chairman of Organic Chemistry.

The new £165 million (AU$259 million) facility will provide over 46 laboratories, and will be connected to the existing CRL1 building by an underground ‘spine’ that will improve physical, functional and social links between the two buildings.

The university expects to begin work on the detail design stage shortly, submitting a planning application for the project before the end of the year.

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