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Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford

Quite simply breathtaking

Credit: Iwan Baan

Herzog & de Meuron for Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

Contract value: £55m

GIA: 7,934m2

RIBA South Client of the Year

The Blavatnik School of Government seeks to improve public policy and government globally. Its new home has been designed as a precise geometric form which allows its important historic neighbours to maintain and improve their presence. Inside, the building is quite simply breathtaking. It is one of those rare moments in architecture when the spirit soars. This is a modern cathedral of learning that stimulates, soothes and excites.

  • Credit: Iwan Baan
  • Credit: Iwan Baan
  • Credit: Iwan Baan
  • Credit: Iwan Baan

The brief to ensure that students engage at all levels is handled very cleverly. This is exactly how the plan works too, with offset balconies and wide twisting staircases, interactive spaces at the junction of stairs and communal spaces between. The traditional Oxford quad has been reinterpreted, resulting in a space where people naturally come together and engage both physically and emotionally. This is a complex building in its geometry with stacked orthogonal and rectilinear forms working brilliantly against all the odds – it is a truly inspirational piece of design. 

See other winners of the RIBA Regional Awards 2016 – South


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