The Old Road Campus is the main location for Oxford University’s Medical Sciences Division, one of the UK’s leading biomedical research centres. Their 9-acre site is located to the east of Oxford City centre.
The University intend to develop further research facilities over the long-term. These are to be located on the adjacent 7-acre Park Hospital site. Niall McLaughlin Architects were appointed to prepare an Outline Planning Application for the development of the two sites into a combined masterplan. The application was submitted in August 2012.
Site analysis of the existing facilities highlighted 3 main issues. Diffuse and uncontrolled surface parking has created a car-centric site. Operationally each building is autonomous, and there are few communal facilities.
The decision was made to introduce a centralised facilities management strategy as well as a centralised car-parking strategy. These two facilities are accommodated in a new 5-storey building located by the site entrance, with the result that deliveries and car-journeys within the site can be substantially reduced. On the ground floor the building can house a restaurant, gym, shop and crèche facilities. It will therefore activate the spaces around it. A new urban realm has been designed that knits together the existing buildings around a new legible and pedestrian-friendly streetscape.
An important characteristic of the site is the extensive mature planting. The existing mature trees will dictate the form and character of the new public spaces. A new north-south tree-lined avenue will provide a focal point for the site. A mix of evergreen and deciduous trees will be planted around the site boundaries and across the site, enhancing the character of the existing parkland setting.