January 2021 - Life and Mind Building gains planning consent

Designed by internationally renowned architect practice NBBJ, the building will house the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Biology, including Plant Sciences and Zoology.  With a project cost of £200m and a gross internal area of 269,097 sq ft, it will provide research facilities to 800 students and 1,200 researchers. 

Situated between Oxford’s listed University Parks, the Science Area and its historic town centre, the new building aims transform the relationships between the psychological and biological sciences by enabling and promoting cross collaboration across these two fields. Taking advantage of its location, it will enhance the gateway to Oxford’s Science Area and create exciting opportunities for public and scientific engagement. Engaging research departments, collaborators, the public and industry, the new Life and Mind Building will be able to target critical Global Impact Themes:

  • Living with biodiversity

  • Thriving on a healthy planet

  • Conflict and cooperation

  • Nature-based solutions

Anna Strongman, Chief Executive of Oxford University Developments, said:

We are extremely proud to be bringing forward the OUD’s first building project which, in the wake of COVID-19, will help retain talent in the city, whilst driving essential inward investment and providing opportunities for world-leading innovation. The Life and Mind Building is using architecture and design to bring together key scientific disciplines and promote greater understanding. When complete, it will provide students with a modern, state-of-the-art facility that helps continue the University of Oxford’s legacy as one of the world’s most pre-eminent teaching institutions.

Professor Chris Kennard, the University of Oxford’s Senior Responsible Owner for the project, said:

We are delighted that Oxford City Council has approved the planning application for the new Life and Mind Building.  The university, in partnership with Legal & General, looks forward to the commencement of construction of the building in the summer, which will be undertaken by Wates. There is no doubt that the building, which has been exceptionally well designed, will provide world class innovative research and teaching facilities for the Departments of Biology and Experimental Psychology enabling them to study the full breadth of life on earth.

Ingo Braun, Design Director at NBBJ London, said:

Following an immensely collaborative period of engagement with the departments and University, we are proud to have designed a light-filled, welcoming, and flexible space for staff and students which can be public-facing but also facilitate the world-class learning and scientific research the University is known for. The design will enhance the experience and wellbeing of the building’s many occupants and visitors, promoting retention and attraction of world class talent in life and mind research.

Darius Umrigar, Science & Higher Education Director at NBBJ London, said:

The Life and Mind Building will house best-in-class research and teaching facilities, which underline the University of Oxford’s reputation as one of the leading academic institutions in the world.