Team led by Hawkins\Brown wins Begbroke Innovation District design competition


Team led by Hawkins\Brown wins Begbroke Innovation District design competition
Team led by Hawkins\Brown wins Begbroke Innovation District design competition. Image: The design competition winning entry

A design team led by Hawkins\Brown has won the competition to produce the masterplan for the proposed development of the area around Begbroke Science Park just north of Oxford into a world-leading innovation district.

The other members of the team are OKRA (Netherlands), BuroHappold and C:Lab, RCKa, Ooze (Netherlands), and MurrayTwohig.

The judges were impressed by the winning team’s design flair, collaborative approach, creative integration of different uses, and sensitive consideration of the needs of both local communities and those who will come to use the site.

The competition was launched in late 2021 by Oxford University Development (OUD), part of the University’s joint venture with Legal & General (L&G). The winner was chosen from this competitive field using a rigorous selection process.

40 teams entered the first round, and five were shortlisted to proceed into the next phase. The shortlisted teams produced more detailed proposals setting out their vision for the site, which were assessed first by a technical panel before final evaluation by a judging panel with specialist advisers.

The design team will now work closely with OUD, Oxford University, L&G and other stakeholders, including Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council, to produce an innovative, forward-looking masterplan that will guide the site’s development over the coming years.

A phased programme of engagement and consultation with local communities, University staff and other relevant groups has already started and will continue throughout the development process. There will be opportunities in the coming months to learn more about, and contribute to, the emerging vision for the site.

The University aspires to create a 190-hectare mixed-use neighbourhood around Begbroke Science Park. This will include a range of research and development space; subsidised staff housing as well as accommodation available to the general public; community facilities such as schools, local centres, and amenity and leisure space; and a nature reserve and public park.

In keeping with the goals set out in the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy, the development will have a strong focus on sustainability, for example, the new staff housing will be built to a high standard and offer exceptional environmental performance, and there will be improved sustainable transport links with Oxford.

Hawkins\Brown already has considerable experience working with the University, having designed major new construction projects such as the Beecroft Building and the New Biochemistry Building.

Anna Strongman, CEO of Oxford University Development, said: “We’re thrilled to have found a stellar team that will work with us to design a masterplan that responds to Oxford’s housing needs and propels the economic attraction of the new centre as an exemplary place to live, work, and foster innovation and enterprise.”

Darryl Chen, Urban Design Lead at Hawkins\Brown, said: “This is one of those rare opportunities to set an agenda for a type of place that doesn’t quite yet exist. We’re super-happy that Oxford University Development has selected our team of spicy talents to work with them. We’re going to give it our all!”

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