A short ceremony marked the occasion of breaking through the temporary wall between the two phases.
Senior scientists and project leaders were present to witness a hole being knocked through a thin plasterboard wall that had protected the final phase of the construction works. They marked the two phases of the building being brought together by passing a model of the molecular structure of penicillin through the opening – much of the work to enable the antibiotic to be used on a large scale was undertaken by Oxford researchers. The hole is now being enlarged to unify the laboratory and desk-based research facilities.
The new 26,000m2 building adds further world-class laboratory research facilities, as well as areas designed to encourage collaboration between specialists in different disciplines. Managed by the Capital Projects team within Estates Services, the Biochemistry building is Oxford's biggest capital project so far, as well as an exceptionally challenging one because of tight space constraints at the site, which is surrounded by other occupied buildings in the heart of the Science Area. Work began on the completion phase in mid-2018 and has proceeded with close consultation with neighbours to minimise disruption. The project is expected to be complete in February 2021.