herzog & de meuron completes school of government building for oxford university herzog & de meuron completes school of government building for oxford university
feb 15, 2016

herzog & de meuron completes school of government building for oxford university

herzog & de meuron completes school of government building for oxford university
all images courtesy of the blavatnik school of government




since its founding in 2012, the blavatnik school of government at oxford university has been spread across three separate sites. now, three years later, students have moved into the school’s new amalgamated home, a series of disc-shaped volumes conceived by swiss architects herzog & de meuron. the building primarily houses teaching and academic spaces, supported by meeting, administration, research, and service areas.

externally, the structure appears as a series of vertically stacked discs




designed to promote open discussion, interaction, and collaboration, the scheme is internally organized around a centrally positioned public zone, known as the ‘forum’. this void, around which teaching spaces are located, ensures that natural light reaches lecture theaters and provides a space for exhibitions, presentations and impromptu engagement.

the building primarily houses academic spaces for the university of oxford




on the lower ground floor, two horseshoe-shaped lecture theaters provide seating for 80 and 120 people respectively. these auditoriums are designed to facilitate interaction among the students as well as with the lecturer, and are equipped with state-of-the-art audio and visual facilities. above, a flexible teaching space can be used as a single, large room for lectures and conferences or divided into four separate spaces for smaller seminars, group discussions or meetings.

the internal program is organized around a vertical public space




the quieter upper levels contain academic programs, while the building is topped with a library research tower — a facility which adjoins an outdoor terrace that offers views across the city. glazed dividing walls and mini internal courtyards with skylights help illuminate study spaces, ensuring that the building serves as a warm, comfortable and open environment in which to work. externally, the scheme appears as a series of discs, vertically stacked and shifted slightly to give the school a distinct presence within its historical context.

teaching spaces are located this part of the design, known as the ‘forum’




from an environmental perspective, the building is expected to consume 49% less energy in comparison to existing UK buildings of the same size and use. a host of integrated solutions have been utilized, including: automated natural ventilation, a ground source heat pump for warming and cooling the building, rooftop photovoltaic panels, and rainwater harvesting.


see designboom’s previous coverage of the blavatnik school of government here.

the scheme provides a space for exhibitions, presentations, and impromptu discussions



staff and students discuss the new home of oxford’s school of government

the design gives the school a distinct presence within its historical context

the building is topped with a library research tower

the school’s layout ensures that each area of the plan is brightly illuminated

a spiral staircase forms a dynamic circulation route

a rooftop terrace offers views across the city

students moved into the new building in late 2015



project info:


location: oxford, UK
client: the university of oxford


herzog & de meuron team:


partners: jacques herzog, pierre de meuron, ascan mergenthaler (partner in charge)


project team: john o’mara (associate, project director), marinke boehm (project manager), ben duckworth (associate), simon demeuse (associate)


farhad ahmad, maximilian beckenbauer, frederik bojesen, blanca bravo reyes, thomas cardew, oliver cooke, shane mccamley, massimo corradi, joseph dejardin, martin eriksson, francis fawcett, elizabeth ferguson, andrew gibbs, stefan goeddertz (associate), jennifer gutteridge, shusuke inoue, sara jiménez núñez, yuichi kodai, áron lőrincz, martin nässén, tyler noblin, julian oggier, kristian pedersen, holger rasch, martha rawlinson, nina andrea renner, steffen riegas, rebecca roberts, raúl torres martín, yves wanger, mika zacharias

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