387 News

Blavatnik School of Government
OXFORD, UK, 23 February 2016 – Faculty, students and staff of the Blavatnik School of Government moved into the new building last December, and it has been in use since then. The official opening is planned for Spring 2016.

Developed from the inside, the heart of the building, the forum, cuts through the school as a vertical space connecting all the levels and programs together. Central to a school of government is the idea of openness, communication and transparency; the central forum takes this principle literally by stitching all levels together. This hollow also defines the exterior appearance of the school. Its circular shape shows analogies to government buildings in different places all over the world and at the same time resonates with some of Oxford's most iconic buildings, such as Radcliffe Camera and Sheldonian Theatre.

Jacques Herzog says:
“Oxford is an almost sacred territory for world class education in literally any of its many famous colleges. Its architectural heritage is equally impressive – apart from most of those buildings that were added since modernity has taken command of its urban development. We saw the Blavatnik School of Government as an opportunity to connect back to the traditional building typologies, such us the interior courtyard and the stack of different volumes such as the circle and the horseshoe. These different volumes provide a sense of scale and proportion and thus help integrate the building within its delicate historic context. The interior courtyard – so specific and unique in historic colleges – has become an internal forum inspired by parliamentary and governmental spaces. It is made to stimulate communication and informal exchange between students, scholars and visitors from all over the world.”

Ascan Mergenthaler, Senior Partner, says:
“Together with the School we developed a diversity of spaces offering a multitude of settings and conditions for studying, learning, exchanging, teaching and working – ranging from private and acoustically sealed to open and casual – yet they all share the visual and physical connection to the central forum; this creates a sense of community and intimacy that is fundamental to a school of government.”