Work on £200m scheme to start this summer

NBBJ has won planning for Oxford University’s biggest ever construction project this summer after the scheme was approved for planning.

The £200m Life and Mind Building will combine the departments of experimental psychology, plant sciences and zoology into one 270,000sq ft building providing research facilities to 800 students and 1,200 researchers.

NBBJ, which is working with heritage consultant Purcell, said the building is shaped to invite the public on to the site, and up to a roof-top restaurant, via a plaza with views into and across the ground floor. The plaza can be used for events and separates what is a large building into two smaller volumes in keeping with the local context.

A terraced atrium will link two main blocks, one an adaptable laboratory wing and the other filled with offices that can also be used as “dry labs”.

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Demolition of the site’s former Tinbergen building – designed by Royal Festival Hall architect Leslie Martin – has been completed with contractor Wates expected to progress from its current PCSA contract when the scheme’s main construction phase kicks off in July. The firm beat Laing O’Rourke and Bam to the job after the three were appointed to the university’s £1.5bn capital projects partner framework in 2019.