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New Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford


Alongside Laing O’Rourke and Rafael Viñoly Architects, Planet Partitioning (‘Planet’) have completed the internal glazing for the New Mathematical Institute in the highly regarded University of Oxford. The new building brings together the Maths department which was previously spread across the campus on four different sites. The Mathematical Institute provides workspace for over 500 academics and support staff and organises the educational spaces for international research fellows, lecturers and undergraduates.

The original brief stated objectives such as:

  • A ‘wow’ building creating a new identity for the department
  • An environment that is a joy to work in with good quality daylight and views
  • A building that is aesthetically pleasing and contributes positively to its surroundings, environment and neighbours
  • A design that promotes circulation and interaction whilst respecting the need for privacy

Planet1Using Planet 20, Planet 100DG and bespoke smoke screens, Planet were able to fulfil all requirements for this distinguished building, helping to maintain the ideals of the brief, while adding special touches that only the most exquisite glazing can. Work was focused on the below ground mezzanine level which is a concentration of teaching spaces. To keep disturbances to a minimum, lecture theatres are acoustically separated from the rest of the building, arranged around a generous open space that serves as an informal study and social area. Planet supplied an acoustic rated glass of 50 RwdB, which means that shouting is barely audible through the glass.

Natural light enters the mezzanine from the atrium above via two crystalline light-well structures whose form represent the mathematical formulas of Pascal’s Mystic Hexagram and Poisson problem.

Planet provided and installed access controlled doors to the ground floor reception, giving secure access to the building and allowing the students to remain safe.

The building received a BREEAM Excellent rating at the design stage for attributes such as rainwater recycling systems, green roofs and the motorised solar shading to minimise solar gain. Early works of the construction began on 25/7/2011 with the contract start date on 14/8/2011; the building was formally opened on 3/10/2013. It is called the Andrew Wiles Building in celebration of one of Oxford’s most distinguished mathematicians.

Architect: Laing O’Rourke and Rafael Viñoly Architects


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