OXFORD Brookes University’s Headington campus has been developed for the past seven years but now the hard work may be about to pay off.

The glass-fronted John Henry Brookes and Abercrombie Building has been shortlisted for a RIBA South East Award, putting Winchester-based firm Design Engine Architects in the spotlight.

Oxford Mail:

The John Henry Brookes and Abercrombie Building

Design director Richard Jobson said: “It’s part of an ongoing redevelopment as part of Oxford Brookes’ 150th year celebrations.”

Oxford Mail:

Richard Jobson

Mr Jobson, 49, said of the £130m project: “It has been a very long journey, but we’ve had fantastic support from the client. The university was behind us, the building and design. We couldn’t have wished for better.”

The firm has also been nominated for a second Oxfordshire development: the Clocktower Square as part of Radley College has also been commended.

Mr Jobson said: “It has been pretty amazing. It’s a big project for anybody, and we’re a relatively small practice.”

It is not just local buildings that are being celebrated – local architects have been featured on the shortlist for their work in the area.

West Waddy ADP is a firm based in Abingdon, and has been recognised for the Isis Building on the EF Academy in Headington.

Oxford Mail:

Philip Waddy, lead architect of the Isis Building

Partner Philip Waddy said: “We are very pleased to be shortlisted. It’s a good boost for morale, no doubt about that. We have a very strong emphasis on high-quality design.

“Winning this award would give us a confidence boost, to know that our work had been awarded by a national panel of architects.”

Mr Waddy said he was surprised to see the Isis Building on the list, as it cost far less than others in the county.

He added: “Oxford itself is a hybrid of really high-quality architecture, but the Oxford scene is dealing with expensive buildings.

“Our project is not an expensive building when you compare it to others, costing £2m. People spend five times as much on a building, and you almost expect those to be award winners.

“I think it would be fantastic to get an award for high-quality work on a project with normal cost limits.”

Not all of the developments that were shortlisted are owned by colleges, universities or hospitals.

Riach Architects has been nominated for a privately-owned family home in north Oxford.

The large house in Norham Road belongs to the Flynn family, who moved to Oxford from London last year.

Oxford Mail:

Kieron Roberts of Riach Architects

Project architect Kieron Roberts said: “It really was a comprehensive refurbishment. The Victorian house used to be split into several student flats so it needed to be restored to its former glory.

“It was a challenge, but we pulled it off.”

Mum-of-four and property refurbisher Jeanne Flynn said: “We absolutely love it here, we like the quieter pace and the family outlook here.”

Mrs Flynn and her husband Tim, who works in finance, first started looking to relocate four years ago with their children Jack, 15, Chase, 14, Zoe, 12, and Grace, 10.

The RIBA awards are judged by a panel of internationally-renowned architects and designers, who have spent the past week visiting and assessing the shortlisted buildings.

The winners of the RIBA South East 2014 Awards will be announced on May 8 at a ceremony in Surrey.

Regional winners will then be in the running for RIBA’s National Award, which will be announced in June.


Judges look for a range of aspects in the shortlisted  buildings:

  • How the architect responded to the brief
  • Whether they exceed their client’s expectations
  • Value for money
  • Use of materials
  • Whether a building is likely to be a significant piece of architecture in the long term.


Clocktower Square, Radley College, Kennington Road, by Design Engine Architects Ltd

Oxford Mail:

THE new brick building replaces an old unused structure called the gymnasium. It contained the politics and history faculties along with 10 classrooms, a staff room, and a social space with cafe, where both boys, staff and parents can go.
Design director Rob Graham said: “It sits among four existing buildings and connects to all of them.”

Stonehaven (private house), Kirtlington, by Yiangou Architects LLP

Oxford Mail: Architect Andrew Inchley said: “It was the complete refurbishment of an existing house, and we added a swimming pool and gym off to the side of it.
“We gave a nod to the original building, which was a traditional barn. It’s made of Cotswold stone. Everything looks traditional, then on the other side it’s all glass. It’s very contemporary.”

Pembroke College, Pembroke Square, by Berman Guedes Stretton Architects

Oxford Mail:

THE building’s most striking feature is the glass bridge connects Pembroke College’s main site to five new buildings across the road.
There is also a foyer area, auditorium, and art gallery.
The development provides 100 student bedrooms, seminar rooms and a café.

Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Old Road campus, by Make

Oxford Mail:

ONE of the largest centres for biomedical research in Europe, this new laboratory is an integrated research centre to link science research with medicine.
The building is fronted by wooden slats, with a set-back entrance.
Inside is decorated with wooden panelling and white walls.

McCall MacBain Graduate Centre, Wadham College, South Parks Road by Lee/Fitzgerald Architects

Oxford Mail:

OPENED in October 2012, this graduate student centre has study and social spaces.
It’s located in a Grade II listed building, formerly the Blackwell’s Music Shop, as part of the college.
It features two seminar rooms, a reading room, a library, two common rooms, a media room and terraced garden.

Gateway Buildings, St Antony’s College, Woodstock Road,

by Bennetts Associates

Oxford Mail:

Director of Bennetts Associates Julian Lipscombe said: "It’s a new set of buildings, but in many ways it’s more than that. It used to be very difficult for people to place where the college was in the Oxford scene. Now it’s formally established its presence."

Andrew Wiles Building, University of Oxford, Woodstock Road, Oxford by Rafael Viñoly Architects

Oxford Mail:

THE huge building stretches between Oxford’s traditional colleges, but is a contemporary, cubed design.
It consolidates a department that was previously spread across multiple locations, and provides workspace for more than 500 academics and students.
There is an atrium, along with bridges and social spaces, and underground lecture theatres and teaching rooms.

The Old Indian Institute, Oxford Martin School, Holywell Street, by Berman Guedes Stretton Architects

Oxford Mail:

DIRECTOR Hamish McMichael said: “What we created is a research working space that encourages collaborative work.
“There’s a cafe, seminar rooms and meeting rooms.
“We also included a new entrance so it’s accessible for the disabled, and remodeled the ground floor.
“We just took a Victorian building and made it fit for 21st century use.”

Private house in Henley-on-Thames, by The Manser Practice
SET in woodland near Henley-on-Thames, it is owned by a professional couple.
The house is divided into a living wing and a bedroom wing, with a terrace running along one side. The exterior is made of Cotswold stone, and it has a steel roof.