Beecroft Building wins RIBA National Award 2019, RIBA South Award 2019 and RIBA South Building of the Year 2019

24 May 2019

The Beecroft Building, designed by architects Hawkins/Brown, has won the RIBA National Award 2019 as well as the RIBA South Award 2019 and the RIBA South Building of the Year Award 2019.

This £50million project to create modern interactive space for scientists above ground, and extremely high tech laboratory space below ground, owes its success to the close working relationship between architects Hawkins\Brown, contractors Laing O'Rourke, M&E engineers Hoare Lee, and a team from the Physics Department.

Professor John Wheater, who led the project on behalf of the Department, said “Modern science is essentially collaborative — the days of the lone scientist are long gone. The Beecroft Building has been designed to enable and encourage people to work together in the fluid combinations that are crucial to solving today’s complex scientific problems, and to provide a laboratory environment that is second to none globally.”

Hawkins\Brown described how the building’s façade is designed to echo the nearby Keble College with the rhythm, vertical emphasis and colour of its bronze, glass and expanded copper mesh cladding. Naturally weathering bronze fins create a grid, through which large picture windows establish visual connections with the nearby university parks.

Inside, the focal point of the building is a central atrium that connects the research offices and informal workspaces above ground with the laboratories in the basement. Landings on the upper floors are equipped with blackboards and seating for presentations and collaborative work to bring great minds together.

The depth of the basement uses the most advanced technologies to provide the stable conditions that enable the extreme precision required for atomic-level experiments. Laboratories incorporate monolithic keel slabs to isolate equipment from external traffic and internal plant vibration, and all plant equipment is carefully isolated on a separate floor slab and hung from spring mounts in interstitial floors.

RIBA judges agreed that the building was a sophisticated, erudite design that is testament to the project team’s close alliance and hard work. An absolutely astounding space in which every scientific detail has been thought through and delivered with a finesse and refinement that is incomparable.

Photo: Jack Hobhouse