Andrew Wiles Building

Andrew Wiles Building The University of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute, named the Andrew Wiles Building in celebration of one of the University’s most renowned mathematicians, formally opened on 3 October 2013.

This stunning £55m building is located on the ten-acre Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site in central Oxford, part of one of the biggest development projects undertaken for more than a century by the University.

The Institute’s design, by Rafael Viñoly Architects, incorporates a double basement in its aim to be architecturally sympathetic to the Oxford skyline.  Construction of the circa 20,000m² building began in August 2011 and involved excavation of some 48,000m³ of soil to create these two underground floors. 

Largest lecture space in Oxford

The lowest level provides car parking and space for a maintenance workshop for the site, whilst the level above houses three state of the art lecture theatres, including the largest in Oxford, with 363 seats. The Institute also contains more than 300 offices, an extensive suite of teaching and seminar rooms as well as a diverse range of meeting rooms and breakout spaces.

Andrew Wiles Buliding - Lecture The building provides the dedicated workspace for, and unites, more than 500 mathematical researchers and support staff previously based at three separate locations. It is also the pivotal centre of academic life for approximately 900 undergraduates. Additionally, it offers the city a bright and modern space for hosting public lectures, conferences and community group events.

The carbon footprint of the building has been taken into consideration and will be kept to a minimum via the ground source heat pumps. Installation of this system involved drilling 103 geothermal boreholes, each one 55 metres deep. The building has achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

Design inspired by mathematical ideas

Andrew Wiles Inspired by Maths Many aspects of the building's design demonstrate how mathematical ideas are part of people's everyday lives. One of the most obvious is the striking Penrose Paving in front of the Institute. This is constructed from just two different diamond-shaped granite tiles, each incorporating stainless steel circular arcs. This unique design was created by Oxford mathematician Sir Roger Penrose in 2012 and is based upon the non-repeating mathematical pattern he discovered in 1974.

Other unique design features include the two crystal-style light wells, the largest measuring 20 metres in length, which are also designed by mathematicians and located at the north and south of the building. The crystals are both decorative and practical – not only allowing light to flood into the mezzanine area but also acting as a means to extract smoke.  

Project Team

  • Architect: Rafael Viñoly Architects
  • Services Engineer: Hoare Lee
  • Environmental engineer: Hoare Lee
  • Structural Engineer: Pell Frischmann
  • Cost Consultant: Gardiner & Theobald
  • Sustainability adviser: Silcock Dawson & Partners
  • Project Manager: University of Oxford Estates Services
  • Contractor: Laing O’Rourke
  • Project completed: October 2013