Oxford University, Biochemistry Completion

Date Complete 2021
Location UK England
Client University of Oxford
Architect Hawkins Brown

Project summary

The Hawkins Brown designed New Biochemistry Building at Oxford University initially opened in 2008. The intent and planning permission was for a combined building to be delivered over two phases. We were appointed in 2017 to provide acoustic design advice for phase 2 of the development from RIBA Stage 2 through construction and the commissioning of Biochemistry Completion in 2021. The building houses multi-disciplinary research facilities over six floors including lower ground and basement. The building structure is designed by Pell Frischmann and is suitably resistant to vibration to accommodate sensitive equipment.

Detailed design

We contributed to the design of the facade in terms of airborne sound insulation performance and control of flanking sound both horizontally and vertically. Following a baseline review of Phase 1, the internal sound insulation across walls and doors was adjusted in response to user’s feedback.

Discretely slatted wood sound absorbent panels are provided in the central atrium to the balustrades and staircase to mitigate sound transfer between write-up areas positioned directly adjacent. Computer modelling was undertaken to confirm the design was equivalent to the Phase 1 atrium which had proved successful.

We worked with Hoare Lea to ensure the internal building services noise was appropriate for the uses in the building, and externally in line with the local authority limits.

The basement of the building has very vibration sensitive Electron Microscopes and we reviewed the position and historical surveys to aid the decision making on whether the location was suitable.

During pre-construction, we assisted in refining the design along with CPC (project management) and Aecom (Cost), and aided Laing O’Rourke where necessary in the construction.

As a result of a suitably qualified and competent team, we found our role on the project to be simple and straightforward.