Research Office Refurbishment & Extension

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in physical and life sciences based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) site. Their suites of neutron and muon instruments allow the properties of materials to be understood at the scale of atoms. They support a national and international community of more than 2000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, through to nanotechnology, materials engineering and IT.

Oxford Architects designed a new entrance, reception area and offices spaces for ISIS, as well as a multifaith room to be used by people from around the campus. The new offices will be a mix of spacious individual occupancy rooms with space for small meetings, open plan spaces of varying sizes and associated kitchen, teapoint, WC and shower facilities to accommodate the increased capacity on the ground floor. Along with the new office space, the client requested for an update to the finishes of the main staircase at the front of the building, to bring it in line with the new, modern space. The design maximises the natural light by the use of glazed partitions and light colours. The introduction of two rooflights over the extension further increase the amount of natural light coming into the space.

The extension containing the new entrance and waiting area is formed out of copper coloured zinc panels, as a reflection of the surrounding materiality of metal clad buildings, and a small area of white cement fibre board at the recessed entrance door. The warm colour was chosen to complement the existing reddish buff brick. Aluminium doors and windows in a warm grey were selected to complete the external material palette.

Internally, wood effect vinyl floors, white walls, glazed partitions with dark grey metal framing in the corridors create a bright and contemporary feel while being low-maintenance, and the carpeting in the offices tie in with the rest of the building and the ISIS colour, blue.

  • Contemporary design to provide new public face to a dated existing building
  • Detailed consultation with end users to maximize the usage of a limited site area
  • Assessment of fire strategy and WC facilities for the whole building, not just the area of refurbishment and extension
  • Scope includes the correction of latent defects in the existing building, such as upgrades to the building fabric.

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Project Architect

Soraya Baharum

Design Team

Quentin Derollez

Partner in charge

Charles Webster

R3 ISIS Media Centre, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Science & Technology Facilities Council

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