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John Henry Brookes Building, Oxford Brookes University

Design Engine Architects

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Headington Campus

Gipsy Lane



Oxford Brookes University


  • Richard Jobson
  • John Ridgett


  • Structural Engineer: Ramboll
  • Mechanical Engineer: Grontmij
  • Landscape Architect: Land Use Consultants
  • Construction Manager: Laing O'Rourke

Project Status


Year Completed



30 sq. meters

Construction Cost


Certifications and Designations

Room or Space




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Project Description

At the core of the concept is the ambition to bring cohesion to a disparate campus; integrating existing buildings with new central student facilities. These links provide fluid movement across the new campus for the first time, where academic spaces co-exist with social areas for the enjoyment of students and staff alike.
Above all, the scheme provides adaptable and flexible accommodation for changing curricula and teaching patterns. Designed from first principles for low-energy consumption in construction and in use, the John Henry Brookes and Abercrombie Building are designed to meet the University’s vision for a ‘holistic approach to enhancing the student experience’.
To achieve the University’s vision for a holistic approach the new building needed to contain a critical mass of accommodation. This includes social learning spaces, main library, lecture theatre, teaching rooms and catering. To give cohesion to the whole campus the core conceptual idea is of a central glowing box interpenetrated by pegs, which reach out to interconnect with the existing campus. These pegs, whilst fulfilling the need for new and better university space, crucially provide the enclosure to a series of new but different external spaces.
The main University reception is housed within the main building, overlooking the forum space. The main entrance area is intended as a place to pause. It is at this point that visitors will be welcomed and, particularly during open days, it is important that there is a generous space for people to gather.
The John Henry Brookes Building is already regarded by many as an exemplary HE project. The result of a sustained collaborative effort by client & design team, it has transformed a tired campus and already had positive impact on both student attainment and satisfaction.
The project has won numerous awards including a 2014 RIBA National Award and place on the Stirling Prize Midlist.
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