Designed by ADP Architecture, the Oxford Trust’s new innovation centre aims to boost enterprise, education and engagement with technology, while helping to inspire the next generation.
Set in 18 acres of woodland, the development includes The Science Oxford Centre, a new facility providing educational and teaching facilities for primary-aged children, and the Wood Centre for Innovation, designed to provide inspirational office space for science and technology start-ups and small businesses.
The Science Oxford Centre is an indoor-outdoor learning space for children aged between four and twelve. At the heart of the centre is the exploration zone, a hands-on exhibition encouraging children to explore and discover through scientific play.
Beyond this are outdoor terrace areas, surrounded by woodland trails, ponds, walkways, and grasslands, encouraging children to expand their scientific discoveries in the natural world.
Meanwhile, located on the same site is the Wood Centre for Innovation, providing bespoke office space for entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovation businesses working in science and technology.
The offices provide a bright, eco-friendly and spacious environment with views into the woodland setting.
The centre also has meeting rooms for up to 20 people and a 120-seat auditorium for conferences and presentations. Tenants can also use a shared breakout space and kitchenette, designed to encourage ad hoc and collaborative working.
Supplied by Vastern Timber, the buildings are clad in British grown Brimstone poplar, which over time will weather to an attractive silver-grey patina. The Oxford Trust chose Brimstone polar for its carbon positive properties, its aesthetic appeal, and because it is locally grown and sourced.
In addition, the south facing elevation benefits from a run of Brimstone poplar solar shading, which as well as providing protection from the high summer sun, creates beautiful shadow patterns on the cladding panels.
Meanwhile, the walkways are finished with antislip timber decking. Supplied by Marley, the decking provides safe and attractive walkways and amenity spaces for the outdoor areas of the innovation centre.
Chosen for its carbon positive properties the cladding is expected to have a life of up to 60 years, depending on weather conditions. Afterwards, it can be reclaimed and used for interior decoration; for example, cladding can be reused for ‘barn wood’ wall panels which can look stunning indoors. At the end of their life, the panels can be burnt as biomass fuel, which in turn helps to offset the need for fossil fuels.
The Oxford Trust, photographer Ed Nix