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New Schwarzman Centre announced

The University has announced a major new project to create a centre that will transform humanities teaching, research and engagement at Oxford. This is enabled by a £150m gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, philanthropist and Chairman, CEO and co-founder of alternative investment firm Blackstone.

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter will form a dynamic hub for the humanities, bringing together seven faculties and six libraries to allow for unprecedented levels of academic engagement and interdisciplinary research. Its facilities will include a 500-seat concert auditorium, a multimedia TV broadcasting and sound studio, film-screening facilities, flexible space for drama performance and rehearsal, a black box theatre and exhibition space. There will be a variety of spaces for work, socialising and knowledge exchange. The Centre will also house Oxford’s new Institute for Ethics in AI, which will build upon the University’s expertise in Humanities to lead the study of the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and other new computing technologies. The project will involve developing attractive, open green public space around the building. The Capital Projects team will play a vital role in delivering all this.

Work will start on the new building only after an extensive consultation process with students, staff, neighbours and members of the public. The ambitious timetable for delivery is to provide the facilities by autumn 2024.

Start of IDRM construction approachesArtist's impression of proposed IDRM

Construction of the new Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine (IDRM) at Old Road Campus is expected to begin in late 2019 or early 2020, with completion scheduled for January 2021. The building will provide world-class facilities for around 200 scientists carrying out research on how to repair human physiology from within, using the body’s own blueprints. This will enable the discovery of new drugs and therapies to tackle disease through a deep understanding of developmental biology.

The building will form a gateway between the Campus and the wider city, incorporating landscaping and amenity space. The information boards from the public consultation earlier in the year are available online. This will be a busy time on the Old Road Campus, as two smaller projects are also in preparation – a rooftop extension at the top of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and the fit-out of much of the basement of the recently-completed Innovation Building.

Tinbergen demolition and replacement plans move forward

The University is making progress with its plans to demolish the Tinbergen building and replace it with a new world-class centre for life and mind sciences, the provisionally-titled Life and Mind Building. It submitted an application for planning permission for the demolition and various related enabling works in June. A response is expected in September; if this is successful, demolition is expected to start in December and finish around the end of 2020. A public consultation on the plans took place earlier in the summer at Worcester College. Members of the project and design teams were present to answer questions; the feedback gained is now informing the next phases of the project. The information boards presented at the event are accessible online. Earlier in the year the University appointed NBBJ as lead designer on the project, supported by partners, and approved £192m in capital funding with more anticipated to come from donors. If you have any queries, please contact the project team at Another public consultation will take place in November.

Bottoming-out ceremony for Biochemistry CompletionBiochem completion basement excavations completed

An informal ‘bottoming-out’ ceremony took place in early May to mark the end of the major excavation phase of the project to complete the Biochemistry building.

The dig will provide two basement levels. The project is now expected to be finished at the end of 2020.

Richard Jones shares good practice at S-Lab conference

At the S-Lab international conference on laboratory design in Birmingham in April, Richard Jones, Head of Capital Projects, gave a talk on the University’s experience of introducing its Soft Landing Strategy to improve the experience of users when they take possession of new buildings once construction has been completed. The talk was well-received; afterwards 15 other organisations and universities asked for copies of the strategy to adapt and use for their own purposes. This is just one example of the work Capital Projects and other teams within Estates Services have been doing to share innovations that have been made here with the wider industry.

Wytham Chalet finished

The project to refurbish the Wytham Chalet, managed by the Capital Projects team, has now been completed. The chalet now has high-quality lab space for use by researchers working in Wytham Woods, as well as accommodation and teaching facilities.

It will also act as a venue for organisations wanting to hold events like away days in the woods. Two seminar rooms capable of holding 20 and 25 people respectively are available for booking on Planon; the Chalet provides an interesting alternative venue for departments planning events or meetings.

Status of major projects



  • New Neurosciences Research Facility at the John Radcliffe, handed over to building users in June. Project Manager: Peter Turner, CPC.
  • Rowing Tanks Expansion at Iffley Road – Project has been completed following design changes to address unexpected features of onsite facilities. Project Manager: Nick Mullineux, TMD.
  • Wytham Chalet refurbishment – full internal and external overhaul, including accommodation, research space and teaching facilities. Reached Practical Completion in May. Project Manager: Catherine Atkinson, Turner & Townsend.
  • Dyson Perrins – Work started in September 2017 to adapt existing space to accommodate new equipment for the Archaeology department. The final works to create suitable environmental conditions for the new equipment for the Archaeology department are now complete. Project Manager: Adam Evershed, Ridge

Completion due during 2019

  • 1-4 Keble Road Refurbishment – Doctoral Training Centre relocation to enable creation of Energy Storage research facility in Rex Richards Building. Completion is due in Q4 2019; completion of the Rex Richards project is expected Q1 2020. Project Manager: Nick Mullineux, TMD.
  • Southwell Building compressor housing – extension for engineering turbine testing facility. Completion is expected in mid-2019. Project Manager: Nick Mullineux, TMD.

At planning/design stages or under construction

  • Biochemistry Completion, Science Area – Following the excavation of the double basement and the completion of the concreting to the basement slab, construction has moved onto the lower ground floor slab and the imminent removal of the temporary props. Estimated completion Q4 2020. Project manager: Jon Odell, CPC
  • Humanities on the ROQ – Major funding has now been secured for the project. The project team are currently working on the tender for the appointment of an architect. Project manager: Matt Eaton, PDCM.
  • Castle Mill graduate accommodation – building and landscaping improvement works are ongoing and work is due to complete in March 2020. Project manager: Jon Odell, CPC. 
  • IDRM (Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine) design development is continuing. A tender competition is ongoing for the appointment of the main contractor. Construction is expected to start in Q1 2020 and to complete Q2 2021. Project Manager: Oliver Banister, Ridge.
  • Osney Power Station refurbishment for Saïd Business School – the planning application continues to progress, and the project team is continuing to finalise the design. Expected completion Q3 2022. Project Manager: Jolyon Price, Ridge.
  • Tinbergen Redevelopment – Asbestos removal and soft strip is continuing and expected to finish in December 2019. The project team for the redevelopment have been working towards the Gateway 2 review in July. Project Managers: Tim Crow, ARUP and Richard Todd, Bidwells.
  • Parks College – Design works are ongoing to bring plans for the RSL up to the same position as the works previously undertaken for the refurbishment of the basement. Project Manager: Viv Barnard, CPC.
  • Cyclotron installation – procurement and installation of a cyclotron to complement the existing radiopharmacy research facility. Estimated completion is Q3 2020. Project Manager: Richard Todd, Bidwells.
  • Kennedy Office Extension – project to add additional office space to the Kennedy Building. The design is currently in progress. Construction is expected to start in Q1 2020 and finish Q2 2021. Project Manager: Jennifer Emm, CPC.

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