Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University

Herzog & de Meuron, Oxford, 2015


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The building marks a contrast from the existing architecture of Oxford University 

Jim Stephenson     Download Original

  • The building marks a contrast from the existing architecture of Oxford University    
  • A large double-glazed window looks out on to the street    
  • The width of the glass panels is taken from the stone facade of the nearby Bodleian Library    
  • There are high-quality finishes throughout    
  • The scheme’s spiral staircase is expertly detailed    
  • The central foyer space    
  • There is plenty of natural daylight within    
  • Site plan    
  • Level B1 plan    
  • Level B2 plan    
  • Level 0 plan    
  • Level 1 plan    
  • Level 2 plan    
  • Level 3 plan    
  • Level 4 plan    
  • Level 5 plan    
  • Level 6 plan    
  • Section S1    
  • Section S2    
  • Samples list    
  • Level 0 ground floor Walton Street entrance assembly    
  • Level 0 ground floor section – Walton Street entrance assembly    
  • Plan – Level 1 – Window to the World assembly    
  • Level 2 plan – typical facade assembly    
  • Sections and elevations – Level 2 – typical facade assembly    
  • Level 2 facade – typical section detail    
  • Level 3 facade – typical detail section    
  • Level 4 – envelope assembly plan    
  • Vertical section through upstand at big roof level 6    
  • Vertical section – lateral section through forum rooflight    

An internal central foyer space unfurls through the building’s five storeys, with a spiral staircase at its centre. Another flourish of the building is a large double-glazed window, which faces the Oxford University Press.

The building, which provides spaces for teaching and research, was designed to be open and engaging. Engagement between its users is made easier by light, collaborative spaces, which both inspire and enable conversations and connections. According to Jacques Herzog, the building’s competing geometries and cantilevered forms were designed to break down the scheme’s mass and respond to its context.

The building’s central forum has been designed to provide chance encounters and be a place of togetherness. The spiral staircase was constructed on site but not in situ; it was craned in and lowered through a central circular hole. In this historical context a modern glass building could have failed. But with its glass panels with their width taken from the stone facade of the nearby Bodleian Library and its oak detailing, the building squares up against its more traditional neighbours.


  • Begun: Sep 2013
  • Completed: Nov 2015
  • Floor area: 9,000m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Procurement: Design and Build
  • Address: 120 Walton St, Oxford, OX2 6GG, United Kingdom

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