The Wolfson Building, University of Oxford

The Wolfson Building, University of Oxford

Forming part of the John Radcliffe Hospital complex in Oxford, and bounding an adjacent conservation area, the Wolfson Building offers the UK’s first dedicated centre for prevention of stroke and dementia research. Within two linear rectangular forms the primary spaces are organised on either side of a circulation and service spine that incorporates the stairs, lift, shared facilities, amenities and meeting rooms.
Horizontal circulation is terminated at both ends with glazed portals to capture views and offer engagement with its urban context. This layout is symbolic of the collaborative relationship between the two departments that are housed within.

Befitting its research and the importance of engagement with the natural environment in the promotion of health, the forms are clad in familiar and natural materials comprising modular, repetitive elements of earthy terracotta that reference the context and character of the site and its history as a quarry. Timber frames provide a complement to highlight and identify entrances.
The facade is arranged in various combinations to create a unique architectural pattern broken up by full height slot window apertures that introduce daylight and view deep into the building. This sequence of windows expresses the variety of internal spaces, creating a flexible module for both cellular office and open plan workstations providing space for researchers to meet, share ideas and train supporting the various needs of the contemporary academic workplace.

An innovative solution for natural ventilation with acoustic buffering is incorporated within the reveals of the facade, ensuring the building is full of fresh air, and controlled natural light reinforcing the University’s commitment to sustainability, health and well-being.

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