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Client
University of Oxford
Year
2018
Architect
Sir Leslie Martin
Main Contractor
ISG
Sector
Education

Scope of Works Expand

  • Terracotta Cladding
  • Composite Panels
  • Louvres
  • Windows
  • Rooflights
  • Aluminium Rainscreen

Overview Expand

Specialist contractor Prater has delivered a full building envelope package for the refurbishment and extension of the Sir Leslie Martin designed Tinbergen Building at the University of Oxford.

The Tinbergen Building, named after the 1973 Nobel Prize recipient Nikolaas Tinbergen, is the home of the Departments of Zoology, Plant Sciences and Experimental Psychology. The new two storey extension to the southern end of the building also includes state-of-the-art facilities for the Department of Chemistry.

The original building was designed by famed British architect Sir Leslie Martin in 1965 and construction was completed in 1970. The rectangular plan building features two symmetrical wings and exterior design made extensive use of both poured and pre-cast concrete elements. Achieving a contemporary look for the extension while reflecting the aesthetic of the main building was a key objective for the project. The wider refurbishment also reconfigured the internal layout and re-established some of the original features such as the stepped profile, which the new construction also conforms to.

The initial specification for the extension included pre-cast Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) for the façade to complement the original building. When Prater was appointed it looked at how this could be achieved more effectively and identified an alternative solution. In collaboration with the client, main contractor and its supply chain, Prater devised a system of GRC rainscreen panels supported by a lightweight frame. This created the intended aesthetic but with a system that was quicker to install, simpler and more cost effective. The building envelope also includes aluminium louvres, rooftop photovoltaic panels and feature structural glazing to introduce natural light into the building.   

William Morrison, Project Director at Prater explained: “The design of the building envelope was complex due to the number of different elements and so required a creative approach to translate this into reality. There were very few areas where work could be duplicated so each area and elevation had to planned individually. The features of the new building that interface with the existing structure presented a challenge, however, our experience on similar contracts meant we were able to solve the issues quickly.

“Our supply chain relationships were also an important factor in Prater winning the contract. The need to integrate a number of different materials and elements to make the design a reality necessitated a truly collaborative approach. Very few specialist contractors could have achieved what was required within the timeframe.”