Tinbergen building demolition | University of Oxford

Tinbergen building demolition

After very detailed consideration of several options for the building’s future following its closure, the University concluded that as a 50-year old building its design and layout no longer accommodates the needs of modern teaching and research. For example, low ceiling heights limit scope to install the necessary services and facilities for modern laboratories. The extent of the work needed to cleanse the building of all asbestos means that only the building frame would remain. Also, the building is not energy efficient and provides no public realm space.

Taking all these matters into consideration, demolition and rebuilding offers the best outcome for our students and staff, the continuation of the important international research that has taken place over many decades in the Tinbergen building, the wider community and represents best possible value for money.

Didn’t demolition start earlier this year?

In May 2019 we obtained permission to demolish a 12 x 12m area of the building at Gate 1, the original main entrance to the building on South Parks Rd.  This was to enable better access for lorries delivering to and transporting from the site during the later stages of the asbestos removal works. 

How will you manage the impact of demolition with so much other building work happening nearby?

We are very aware of concerns about this and have been talking to site neighbours since work first began on site in October 2018.  A team of programme managers in the University’s Estates Services department work together to ensure the coordination of logistics across projects, and all contractors working on University projects meet regularly to discuss site health and safety and logistics and ensure a coordinated approach.

What about the impact on roads and footpaths?

We have approved a traffic management plan with Oxford City Council setting out lorry movements and a route to and from the building, avoiding peak hour traffic (7.30- 9.30am and 4.30-6.30pm) wherever possible.

We expect to adjust the hoarding line so that we can excavate the building’s basement.  Work for the new entrance and ramp to the Peter Medawar Building will also mean that there will be no pedestrian route from South Parks Road through to the area next to the sports pitch to Mansfield Road.

During what hours and days of the week will demolition be taking place?

Monday to Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday 8am-1pm.

What will you do about the noise and dust?

We will be using largely mechanical crushing equipment to minimise noise. We will monitor noise regularly and will be constantly talking with our neighbours to respond to any concerns.

The building will be wrapped in a temporary scaffold and plastic covering. We will also use dust suppression systems during the demolition and wheel washing for all vehicles leaving the site.

What is happening to the new Chemistry teaching labs at the back of the Tinbergen building?

The extension for new Chemistry Teaching Laboratories (CTL) was already underway when it was decided to close the Tinbergen building.  The CTL will be retained as part of the redevelopment of the site, so the mechanical plant and support spaces for the CTL that are currently located within the structure of the main Tinbergen building are being relocated.  This will involve the building of a temporary plant room on part of the adjacent University Club sports field in early 2020.

Existing pedestrian and goods access to the CTL will also be relocated during the demolition, by creating a new entrance using the existing staircase facing the sports field, including a temporary ramp for disabled access and with new lighting.  A new goods access and goods lift will be installed on the western side of the building to separate the CTL from the demolition works.  All CTL deliveries and pedestrian access will be from Mansfield Rd, none from St Cross Rd.

As part of the enabling works, we will also move the CTL flues that currently pass over the main Tinbergen building and locate them temporarily at the front of the CTL on the sports field. 

What other enabling works are you doing?

  • Relocating the electricity sub-station currently in the Tinbergen basement to an area of adjacent lawn.  Existing shrubs will screen it from view from South Parks Rd.
  • Creating a new and better entrance to the Peter Medawar Building (PMB) so that it faces South Parks Rd and incorporates disabled access.
  • Moving the pedestrian walkway to PMB further away from the Tinbergen building and relocating cycle racks temporarily to the opposite side of South Parks Rd; relocating ramped access temporarily to the rear of the building, replacing existing steps.

More information

If you have any queries about demolition or enabling works, please contact us at lifeandmind@admin.ox.ac.uk.

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