John Henry Brookes Building

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Location: Oxford, UK

Client: Oxford Brookes University

Project Year: 2014

Cost: Over 2m

At the core of the concept is the ambition to bring cohesion to a disparate campus, integrating existing buildings with new central student facilities. These links provide fluid movement across the new campus for the first time, where academic spaces co-exist with social areas for the enjoyment of students and staff alike.

Above all, the scheme provides adaptable and flexible accommodation for changing curricula and teaching patterns. Designed from first principles for low-energy consumption in construction and in use, the John Henry Brookes and Abercrombie Building was designed to meet the University’s vision for a ‘holistic approach to enhancing the student experience’.

To achieve the vision, the new building needed to contain a critical mass of accommodation. This includes social learning spaces, main library, lecture theatre, teaching rooms and catering. To give cohesion to the whole campus the core conceptual idea is of a central glowing box interpenetrated by pegs, which reach out to the existing campus. These pegs, whilst fulfilling the need for new and better university space, crucially provide the enclosure to a series of new but different external spaces.

The Colonnade peg running towards London Road forms the Eastern boundary to the new Piazza. The Abercrombie peg creates a new façade to the Southern edge of a re-modelled central courtyard. The Library peg relates to the internal Forum and creates a new north/south street. And finally the Pooled Teaching and Food Hall peg forms the edge to a future courtyard behind Sinclair as well as new western courtyard and terrace.
The main University reception is housed within the main building, overlooking the forum space. The main entrance area is intended as a place to pause. It is at this point that visitors will be welcomed and, particularly during open days, it is important that there is a generous space for people to gather.

Winner of 2014 RIBA National Award and Stirling Prize Midlist.

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JHBB at twilight

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Terrace restaurant

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Facade detailing

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