Two innovative buildings at Oxford Brookes University reach new heights

Willmott Dixon and Oxford Brookes University celebrate topping out.

Two new, innovative buildings at Oxford Brookes University have reached their highest points in their construction.

Willmott Dixon teamed up with the university to celebrate the topping out of its project to construct the buildings offering teaching, learning and research space at the Headington Hill site.

When complete, the new teaching buildings and workshops will enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and creative industries activities as part of the university’s long-term Oxford Campus Vision which will see Oxford Brookes bring together all its Oxford activities on the Headington Campus over the coming years. 

The new buildings are set to open their doors for the 2024/25 academic year and will be the new home for the university’s School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, currently based at Wheatley. 

The topping out ceremony saw Willmott Dixon director Neville Dale joined by guests including Professor Alistair Fitt, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. 

Professor Fitt said: “The construction of these two innovative buildings is moving at a fast pace, and we look forward to opening the doors in the 2024/25 academic year.

“Students, staff, industry partners and the local community are going to benefit immensely from the rich and stimulating environment that these fantastic new spaces will offer, where they can learn, study, work and socialise.  

“I would like to extend a thank you to our construction partners, Willmott Dixon, as well as a range of partners who have played a key role in the development of two important buildings for the university and wider region.”

Richard Poulter, managing director of Willmott Dixon, added: “This project is about the future of education, the nurturing of young minds and the creation of an environment that inspires creativity and learning. 

“The Headington Hill buildings are designed with the environment in mind, embodying modern construction principles that align with the university's mission to promote responsible and sustainable development. We look forward to seeing the project progress and are excited for the opening.”

As well as being the new home for the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, the facilities will also co-locate the university’s Schools of Architecture and Built Environment and the School of Arts on one campus.

The teaching building will be on three floors and include innovations such as immersion and robotics laboratories, as well as technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR) and 3D printing. A centrepiece VR Cave will allow students to step into an immersive world in order to create virtual buildings and towns and disassemble Formula 1 cars and test different designs. 

The workshop will become a hub for students and staff from motorsport and mechanical engineering who will benefit from high-voltage testing facilities, advanced scanning technology and an automotive lab with a range of Formula 1 racing cars. In addition, Oxford Brookes Racing, the university’s award-winning Formula Student team, will be based in the workshop. 

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