Faculty and lab redesign

University of Oxford


We have worked with the University of Oxford for many years to design new, and refurbish existing, science and research laboratories.

Begbroke Science Park

Begbroke is located a few miles outside Oxford city centre.  The Park is home to a mix of researchers from a variety of science and technology fields. They work alongside business entrepreneurs who have associations with investors and multinationals. 

SRA have designed all the recent Begbroke research buildings

The largest of the buildings we designed is the Institute of Advanced Technology (IAT).  It is used by University departments needing space for research projects, including research into robotic vehicles, environmental science and hydrogen power.

Another building on the Park is the Centre for Innovation and Enterprise (CIE). It provides workspace for an array of both academic and business communities; from advanced engineering and nuclear materials, to robotics and nano-medicine.

For both the IAT and CIE buildings, the brief was for adaptable laboratory space that could easily suit new research projects during the long life of the buildings.  To meet this specification, we developed the ‘periscope’ cross-section; a clever way to take ducts, such as fume cupboard discharges, to the roof.  Learn how the design of these original buildings worked.

We also developed a building to provide space for the Advanced Processing Laboratory (APL).  This is used for research into plasma spraying.

Our current project: Begbroke Innovation Accelerator

With an increase in demand for space, the University wanted a new facility like the CIE.  In architecture, however, much moves on in ten years. So we took the best concepts from the original CIE design, and improved it.

Using cross laminated timber for the external walls, the building fabric was made more robust. We developed this new envelope composition to increase air tightness and durability, as well as improve value for money and construction speed.

To satisfy the client’s specification for a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, we designed-in many additional features, including improved thermal insulation and renewable energy sources. We have exceeded the expectations of our client by developing a building that is inherently sustainable.

View more about: Our approach to Sustainability

City centre laboratories for academic departments

Situated in Oxford city centre, the Sherrington Building is of a pre-war design, but post-war construction. Merging of the University Departments of Physiology and Anatomy resulted in a building in need of significant improvements.  A complete facelift for the reception area was required, as was targeted renovation of defined laboratory areas.

Elsewhere in the city we refurbished space for medical research. These are some of the most tightly controlled laboratories in the country.

SRA delivered a superb project. It achieved not only traditional value for money but also significant value for end users. Flexibility was designed into the building, allowing it to be altered to meet a wide range of clinical needs.
— University of Oxford