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Universities move forward with building plans

Universities of the future: the plans for Oxford Brookes (above) and Sussex (below) (photo: photo: brookes.ac.uk, sussex.ac.uk)

Universities of the future: the plans for Oxford Brookes (above) and Sussex (below) (photo: photo: brookes.ac.uk, sussex.ac.uk)

Plans for major new buildings on campus have progressed as architects were given an initial design brief by the university.

The new academic building would replace the Russell Building and the adjacent Arts D and E buildings, with improvements also being made to connections to surrounding buildings, including Essex and Norwich House, Arts C and EDB. A new teaching building, set to begin construction in the spring term next to the Swanborough residences, will allow for the Russell building to be demolished by summer 2010.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Layzell, said of the redevelopments: “The aim is that the new academic building will not just accommodate but significantly enhance the University’s learning and teaching facilities. We want to create an environment that is highly attractive for students and academics.”

The plans are to house the school of Law, Politics, Sociology, Business, Management and Economics in the new building, with the school of Education and Social Work being based in nearby Essex House.

“We want to create an environment that is highly attractive for students and academics”

Architects are set to propose designs for the new construction in December, with the plans going on display to the university in the new year. The new building will house a new lecture theatre, general and specialised teaching spaces, academic areas and social spaces, including a new cafe. The university also hopes to meet environmental standards by reducing carbon emissions, although the exact means to doing this have not yet been outlined.

The developments come as Oxford Brookes University set out plans for grand renovations to their Headington Campus. The £150m redevelopment programme will include new lecture halls, computing and study areas, as well as the student union and student services. The building will be situated in a new public square, intended to be the centrepiece of the new and improved campus.

The plans are intended not only to improve the campus, but to benefit Oxford as well. The new construction will be passed by millions of people every year, and the arrival atrium will be used to showcase public art. The University are also investing £500,000 for the redevelopment of roads, bus lanes, public lighting and pavements in the area.

Rex Knight, the deputy vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes, said of the plans, “I am sure that it will not only transform the experience students have at Brookes, but also be an exciting addition to the architectural landscape of Oxford. The new student centre is about providing much more than just a new lecture theatre and library — it’s about creating inspiring spaces.

“The combination of a new public square, new public art and the striking glass design of the building will help create a modern gateway for Oxford to complement the historic city centre.”

The University also hopes the redevelopments will help reduce the campus’ carbon footprint, by reaching the highest environmental standards, including the introduction of rainwater harvesting.

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