University of Oxford: Tinbergen Redevelopment

The aspiration for the University of Oxford’s new ‘Life & mind’ Building, is to be a world leading centre for the transformation of science between Experimental Psychology and Zoology. Together with the Department of Plant Sciences these areas of research profoundly influence our understanding of mental health and well being across all species. Our team designed an environment to fully support this work, with the finished building being a physical embodiment of the goals of the research.



The site is located to the north east of Oxford Centre and within a 700m radius of the Carfax tower and within the University of Oxford science area.

Rectangular in plan, the site measures approximately 87m x 62m, orientated broadly north east by south west. The site sits to the easterly edge of the science area on a sharp bend where South Parks Road to the north meets Saint Cross Road to the east. The south of the site overlooks the University Club and the cricket pitch whilst to the west the site is bound by the Peter Medawar Building and Department of Pharmacology.

The adjacencies, relationships and flows between different groups and functions (teaching & research) must be interwoven with the building fabric and allow for easy collaboration. The services and structure must be adaptable to suit the changing demands of a modern science and research environment. This must be a highly functioning building but one that also enhances wellbeing and offers a sense of joy and wonder to the visitors and users. The building will deliver a positive transformation of the image of science at Oxford, opening up engagement with the public community and becoming a symbol of excellence and innovation worldwide.


A primary requirement of the brief was for an energy efficient, sustainable and cost effective facility. The building incorporates a range of energy efficiency systems including exposed thermal mass, heat pumps for heating and cooling, mixed mode ventilation (displacement, stack and natural) and night time cooling. Discrete integration of building services was fundamental to the project as no suspended ceilings are provided.

A 1MV groundwater heat serves both heating and cooling needs. In heating mode, it uses solar heated groundwater and heat recovered from computer servers. In cooling mode, the ground sink provides free cooling for water cooled chillers.

Post occupancy data recorded energy consumption of 137.4 kWh/m2/year - 46% less than the average university building and even more impressive given the energy intensive uses within this building.


University of Oxford

30,000 m²



Client  University of Oxford

Location  Oxford, United Kingdom

Status  Bid

Area  30,000 m²

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