Michael Young Building, Open University Business School

Jestico + Whiles, Milton Keynes, 2001


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Contrasting external materials on the facade 

Peter Cook/VIEW (website)     Download Original

  • Contrasting external materials on the facade    
  • Splayed H-shaped plan produces a high level of daylight access    
  • These timber slates are carried through to the interior    
  • Cor-ten steel gives a rustic look in contrast with the materials above     
  • A more dramatic entrance than the interior suggests    
  • Internal oak slats    
  • Open plan interior office space    
  • Reception desk is by Michael Sanders    
  • The entrance by night    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Detailed sections: glazed screen and door    
  • The Board Room: Isometric sketch of timber cladding    

BREEAM Excellent rated building to provide flexible working environment for up to 350 students and staff

Named after the founder of the Open University the sustainable buildings aims to cater for the social and educational needs of the users.

The building's H-shape plan meets the social requirements, as it provides a central core for circulation with a cafe and seating areas to encourage informal interaction. A boardroom made from timber casket is suspended above the reception area.

The building's wings contain office and teaching spaces, with stairways clad with untreated oak at the extremities. Cor-ten steel is used as sheet cladding around the ground floor, adding a rustic look to contrast with the other external materials.

The building's sustainable features have earned it a BREEAM Excellent classification. It has a high thermal mass produced by concrete floor slabs, hollowed to allow circulation ducts and 90 per cent of its rainwater is harvested.

The building is glazed over 35 per cent which reduces the need for solar regulation. In the central areas the glazing is more expansive, to allow the space to be lit by natural daylight.


  • Begun: Jun 2000
  • Completed: Oct 2001
  • Floor area: 5,880m2
  • Total cost: £7.4M
  • Tender date: Feb 2000
  • Procurement: Two stage tender; JCT 98 Private edition without quantities
  • CO2 Emissions: 54kg/m2/year
  • Address: The Open University Business School, Walton Drive, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom

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