Two Capital Projects buildings win Oxford Preservation Trust awards

The annual awards aim to celebrate the finest additions to Oxford's built environment. They usually include several major University construction projects and this year is no exception.

The Wolfson Building received a plaque - OPT's highest accolade for the best new buildings created in the city. Completed in 2020, it provides purpose-built facilities for the Wolfson Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia, as well as research space for the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. Both these units are part of the University’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences within the Medical Sciences Division.

Meanwhile the Kennedy Institute's recent rooftop extension received both a certificate commending it as one of Oxford's best new buildings and the OPT Green Award in recognition of the project team's efforts to create a more sustainable building. The Institute's main structure was built several years ago, but over the last year a rooftop extension has been added to give the building's occupants more space. In both cases, design and construction was managed by the Capital Projects team, with the close involvement of other teams including Environmental Sustainability, who played a key part in increasing energy efficiency at the Kennedy Institute.

The rooftop extension drew on the principles of Passivhaus design, creating an very airtight structure with all windows triple-glazed and care taken throughout to seal gaps and eliminate ‘thermal bridging’ – a problem in which heat-conducting elements such as metal fixings protrude through the building’s insulation, allowing heat to escape more easily than it should.

As well as focusing on the extension itself, the team also worked hard to improve the existing building’s environmental performance – a challenging task as it had not been designed with airtightness in mind. They added insulation and in some places removed unnecessary glazing, ultimately creating a building with very limited permeability to air, combining plenty of daylight with excellent glare control.