Why a new building?


The Tinbergen Building

In 2016, a planning application for the Chemistry Teaching Laboratories (CTL), as an extension to the Tinbergen Building, was approved as part of a wider planning permission for refurbishment and alterations.
In February 2017, during these refurbishment works, the University reluctantly, at short notice, closed the Tinbergen Building due to the discovery of asbestos-containing materials throughout the structure and in inaccessible areas. It was not possible to remove this while the building was occupied.
Until its sudden closure, the Tinbergen Building had been the main location for the departments of Experimental Psychology (EP) and Zoology for almost 50 years. Re-providing a permanent home for the EP and Zoology is essential to ensure they continue as centres of world-class research and teaching; and to honour commitments made by the University to the two departments to protect their long-term future. The Tinbergen Building accommodated nearly 2000 academic staff, postgraduate students, undergraduates and administrative staff and as a medium-term solution, modular buildings were erected at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site on Walton Street and at the University Club Sports Ground behind the Tinbergen Building. These temporary buildings will be in place until the opening of the new Life and Mind Building. 



View of the Tinbergen Building from South Parks Road in 2017.

Tinbergen Building from South Parks Road, 2017.



The New Life and Mind Building

Following its closure, the ‘Tinbergen Long Term Solution Working Group’ considered the future of the Tinbergen Building. Following a detailed consultation process and appraisal of available options, it was decided that demolition and replacement of the building delivers better value for the University than refurbishment of the existing building frame. In return for a small cost premium, a new-build delivers materially greater benefit in terms of the quality, functionality and flexibility of the resulting space – which will be purpose-designed for 21st-century science and, crucially, completely free of asbestos.
The new Life and Mind Building will transform the relationship between the biological and psychological sciences. The building will provide innovative facilities for teaching and research, which will enable Oxford to train a new generation of scientists, who in turn will help us to address critical global challenges.


Architect's rendering of the entrance to the Life and Mind Building from South Parks Road.

Rendered image of the Life and Mind Building from South Parks Road by architects NBBJ.

Building Location


Image showing the Life and Mind Building site location on South Parks Road within the University's Science area.

Site Location Plan for the Life and Mind Building. Image courtesy of Google Earth.