Willmott Dixon lands £60m University Contract

Work by Willmott Dixon has started on two new buildings on the Headington Hill campus of Oxford Brookes University, as part of a contract worth £60m.

Work by Willmott Dixon has started on two new buildings on the Headington Hill campus of Oxford Brookes University, as part of a contract worth £60m.

The buildings, set within a Grade II listed estate, are set to provide cutting-edge, sustainable spaces for students, staff, researchers, partners and the wider community.

Procured using the Southern Construction Framework (SCF), with design by ADP Architecture, the buildings will provide a new home for the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment, with a new teaching block, faculty offices and an engineering building. 

All have been designed to transform science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and creative activities on the campus and deliver a vision of making and thinking through collaboration and collocation.  

Jerry Woods, director of estates and campus services at Oxford Brookes University, said the “inspirational” buildings, including state-of-the-art labs, workshops, and teaching and social learning spaces would be “transformational” for the Faculty.  

“Together, the new teaching and workshop buildings will help our students, staff and researchers to flourish, boost local collaboration and meet the needs of business,” he said. 

“It will also support the move of our remaining activity on the Wheatley Campus and play a key role in the University’s long-term estate vision.”  

A social core at the heart of the three-storey teaching building will facilitate informal learning, encourage engagement and promote well-being. 

Alongside this, the purpose-built engineering workshop is designed to sit respectfully within the parkland conservation area of Headington Hill.

Richard Poulter, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the south, said the state-of-the-art facility would provide Oxford Brookes University with “innovative facilities that allow their students and staff to meet the future requirements of industry and entrepreneurism”. 

“The sustainability credentials of this building indicate Oxford Brookes’ forward-thinking approach, and we are thrilled to be part of their journey," he said.

The announcement comes a day after Willmott Dixon was confirmed as one of the contractors that had secured a place on the 5th generation of the SCF Construct framework.  

The company was included for the £4m+ lots in the South West, the South East and London categories, continuing a relationship that started in 2006 and has led to Willmott Dixon delivering over £1bn of construction work through SCF’s previous four framework generations. 

Alex Nelhams, SCF framework manager, said: “The SCF is delighted to continue supporting Oxford Brookes with their masterplan by managing the procurement of a contractor for the exciting new Headington Hill project.

“The new spaces will not only serve as a physical space for students and staff to gather and learn but are also a reflection of the university’s commitment to progress and growth.

“We are looking forward to seeing how the project develops and working with all stakeholders to drive positive impact out of the process and leave a highly sustainable new space for the students.”

The facilities will be ready for the 2024/25 academic year.

Recent similar projects for Willmott Dixon have seen the firm hand over the award winning Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building and Warwick Arts Centre at the University of Warwick.

This followed delivery of the £46.5m School of Engineering, creating a leading research facility for the University of Birmingham.  

The company also completed an interior refit of the School of Computer Science and Engineering, Innovation Centre for University of Westminster.

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