With state of the art laboratories and contemporary accommodation for theorists achieved through the £42M building project, the Oxford University Department of Physics declares its ambition of creating one of the most advanced physics departments in the world.
Situated in historic Oxford, the new Beecroft Building boasts a truly outstanding design, excellent employment of space and low environmental impact. With five below-ground levels in a 16m deep basement, this ambitious project brings the years of designing, planning and construction to a conclusion, completing the Physics Department complex in grand style.
Designed by Hawkins Brown Architects, the building form has been created with huge involvement of the current research team. With the ambitious aim of transforming the practice of Physics and attracting new students and researchers, the Beecroft Building will facilitate highly advanced atomic-level experiments.
Approached by M&E engineers at Hoare Lea in October 2015 with a specification for the main atrium area, breakout spaces, collaboration areas, lecture theatre and meeting rooms, we worked closely with both design and M&E team from the very early design stages. Full-size working samples of the luminaires were provided for the architect and design team, supported with visuals of the space.
'the brief was to deliver contemporary architectural feature lighting that would match the ambitious design of the project'
Designed as an exhibition space open to public and inviting visitors to view kit from major experiments, the atrium space is the heart of the building. This large labyrinth-like vertical space offers pockets of social and thinking areas to encourage interaction and conversation. These have been fitted with double height blackboard, something theoretical physicist are very particular about.
Flooded with natural light, the building is taking advantage of the unusually generous ceiling height and uses a minimum of general lighting, allowing the architectural feature lighting to take the centre stage. The natural colour scheme of the atrium is further enhanced with large suspended pendants, Fort Knox by VISO. The copper finish shimmers in daylight adding a drama and subtle glamour to the scheme. Installed in random clusters, the copper pendants have been supplied with a custom 20m suspension kit and additionally secured with a support wire.
The contemporary interiors of the thinking spaces have been fitted with the large suspended feature luminaires, the OUSE Suspended, some of them supplied with custom length suspension kits. Floating in the space, the Ouse adds strong visual interest and thanks to its specifically designed diffuser, it can be admired from any angle, making it a perfect feature luminaire for staircases and atriums.
At the ground floor level, the large staircase turns into a social space with seating area. On the left side of the staircase, 10 linear profiles LOPEN Surface have been installed at a regular pattern as part of the joinery. The 80mm wide body of the Lopen with a matte black finish is bold to create a visual feature in the space. The right side of the staircase has been fitted with concealed linear profiles equipped with IP67 rating.
The overall look and feel of this unique atrium space is welcoming and visually striking. The large ring-shaped luminaires and the metalised copper finish of the pendants create a metaphorical connection to space and science.
The lecture theatres have been fitted with symmetrical runs of a custom length linear profile. The Lopen Suspended in matte black finish was used to illuminate the space. The bold presence and clean aesthetics of the Lopen combined with flexibility make it a versatile linear luminaire for commercial applications.
The Lopen is a versatile clean-cut linear profile with outstanding efficiency, flexibility and performance. It was used throughout the project to keep the continuity of the design.
The design of the meeting rooms is being energised by the Ouse Suspended. Two sizes of 1000mm and 1500mm diameter were specified and used in matte black finish.
All lighting has been supplied as DALI dimmable and commissioned with sensors sensitive to occupancy levels and daylight. Despite its complex nature, the scheme achieves a BREEAM Excellent rating. The project had an incredible 48 week fitout schedule and was completed on time for the handover on the 19th of March 2018.
The final result is a truly outstanding architectural scheme using natural light and architectural feature lighting to its best.