Oxford Brookes University – A step change in campus design



The redevelopment of the Headington Campus at Oxford Brookes University is as much a complete overhaul of the teaching ethos and environment as it is simply an inspiration and joy to those who visit it. This £134 million project is at the heart of the University’s transformative ‘Space to Think’ investment initiative. Conceived as a series of interconnecting buildings and spaces the proposals were submitted for planning in 2009 and completed in phases between 2012 and July 2014.


Driving the new campus image is a dramatic public reception plaza, overlooked by the new John Henry Brookes Building reading rooms and reception. Further into the campus core a central courtyard interconnects with the Forum, with a 4-storey veil of glass the only separation. These and other interlinking spaces are designed to work as a whole and simply to convey the University’s new brand through excellent place-making. The resulting public realm is already immensely popular giving the university a new dimension – literally space to think.


The project was awarded a 2014 RIBA National Award: a RIBA South Regional Award, the RIBA South Sustainability Award and the RIBA South Building of the Year Award. The RIBA Judges described the project as having “a personality that is evident throughout and has achieved immediate impact and popularity”.


Thrilled with the success of the new public realm, Capital Projects Director Yannis Roussos applauded LUC’s participation: “A creative and inventive practice that works collaboratively with its client achieving outstanding work grounded in technical excellence and value for money.”



Oxford Brookes University

Timescale: 2008 – 2014
Client: Oxford Brookes University
Architect: Design Engine
Landscape Architect: LUC
Lighting Design: Spiers& Major
Building Services: Grontmij
Structural Engineer: Ramboll
Civil Engineer: Ramboll
Project Manager: Turner & Townsend
Cost Consultants: Turner & Townsend
Contractor: Laing O’Rourke
Project cost: £134m

About Damian Holmes 3339 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/