- News

2ND April 2019

Creating a World-Class Centre for Life and Mind Sciences

Jon Roylance

2ND April 2019


Higher Education


Working with the University of Oxford on the largest building project of their 900-year history.

ADP, in partnership with iDEA, recently completed the project briefing and feasibility study for the new provisionally named Centre for Life and Mind Sciences, on behalf of the University of Oxford.

The Centre will be the largest building project the University has ever undertaken and will transform the way psychological and biological science is undertaken in Oxford, helping scientists to solve some of our major global challenges. It will be home to the Department of Experimental Psychology and a new Department of Biology, combining the existing departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology.

The scheme will also transform the education experience for students, providing laboratories for undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers, as well as lecture theatres, specialised support laboratories and opportunities for public engagement with research. The new building will also aim to facilitate the University’s schools and public outreach through shared opportunities for art, exhibitions, lectures and conferences, offering a “window into science”.

While it will occupy the same site as the existing Tinbergen building, it will enhance this gateway to Oxford’s science quarter and create an exciting public space with better connections to the surrounding area.

Layout concepts for the new Centre for Life and Mind Sciences

Working with iDEA, ADP undertook a collaborative project briefing process and technical feasibility study to develop academic space standards, an agreed space budget, and spatial arrangements which reflect new forms of collaborative workplace and learning spaces.

ADP developed massing options and a new work settings concept of an academic home, forming communities as “streets”, linked by exhibition, meeting, and resource areas called “village greens” throughout the centre.

In parallel, iDEA developed an interactive space budget model for the centre based on baseline area data and future growth projections, illustrated in a 3D campus model. Further work included optimised timetabling of teaching spaces and existing equipment scheduling within the model.

The feasibility commission was overseen by project manager Arup, and involved a comprehensive technical review of the proposed demolition of the existing Tinbergen building supported by sub-consultants WARM, Ramboll, and Hoare Lea, and concluded in January. Subsequently, ADP assisted the University in procuring a multidisciplinary design team, selected from the University’s framework.

Following the feasibility study, the University approved £192 million in capital funding for the project, with additional funding through donor philanthropy. The first of two planned public consultation events will take place in the early summer.

Written by:

Higher Education Sector Director
Jon Roylance

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