Oxford North  Thomas White Oxford

The site sits at the northern edge of Oxford and has been in the ownership of St John’s College for more than 400 years. This longevity, and the sense of custodianship for future generations, underpins our proposals for the site. New types of research and laboratory buildings for more than 6500 people will sit alongside new homes and amenities, and are placed within a verdant landscape that provides connections to the surrounding areas, linking the site together and creating a series of parks, gardens, lawns and ecological features.

The intersections between science-based and knowledge-economy activities, academic research and places to live and socialise are key catalysts for innovation and growth in the digital age. These places, often known as innovation districts, are global phenomena attracting world class and mobile talent seeking to cluster in proximity to centres of research excellence. Our design for Oxford North will provide a globally significant innovation district that will help the city compete and the UK economy thrive.

The site is currently defined by hostile highways. Transforming perceptions, so that roads are reconceived as urban streets with names, frontages and activities, is a key tactic that reconciles infrastructure improvements with our ambitions for urban placemaking. While the landscape approach provides continuity, the strategy for the built form recognises and responds to the certainty of change, creating a series of adaptable buildings that can link, fuse or subdivide to support growing and changing organisational and social needs at an accelerating pace.