Planning and development | University of Oxford

Planning and development

Vision for the ROQ site

The University’s vision for this important development is to create an attractive, integrated site with state-of-the-art facilities which provide a vibrant academic community with abundant opportunities for collaboration. Not only will the development complement the provision for undergraduates offered by colleges, but postgraduates and academics will benefit from high-quality study space and research facilities. The aim is to encourage collaboration across different disciplines through shared research and social space.


Drawing of work at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter Drawing by Weimin He, the artist-in-residence for the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
credit: Weimin He

Benefits for the local community include the Jericho Health Centre, as well as landscaped public areas and easy access across the site between the Woodstock Road and Walton Street. The programme of public art — which includes workshops in schools and imaginative art events on the site — is intended to create a dynamic, welcoming environment for the benefit of all.

As part of the masterplanning process, the University established a set of general principles about the use of the site:

  • It must work as a whole, so that it is an integrated development rather than a series of individual independent facilities.
  • The development will be phased and have the flexibility to respond to changing needs as the University’s academic strategy continues to evolve over time.

The initial phases of the development have provided space for a number of facilities, including the new Mathematical Institute in the Andrew Wiles Building and accommodation for the Humanities division and library in the former Radcliffe Infirmary. Construction work for the new building for the Blavatnik School of Government was completed in November 2015. Subsequent plots will be developed as the academic need arises and funding permits. There are to be no laboratory-based facilities on site.

The redevelopment of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter is of fundamental importance to the University’s future. It not only marks the next period in teaching, research and discovery, but is another step in the centuries-old relationship between the University and the City. Developing this central site will enhance the architecture of the City for all its residents.