Shortlist of five announced for design team competition for £1bn Innovation District to north of Oxford

Oxford University Development, a £4bn joint venture between the University of Oxford and Legal & General Capital, has revealed the shortlist of five teams proceeding to the second stage of its international design competition for the masterplan team for its world-leading £1 billion, 190-hectare mixed-use Innovation District at Begbroke, to the north of Oxford.

The lead consultants of the shortlisted teams are: Allies and Morrison; Carlo Ratti Associati; Grimshaw; Hawkins Brown; and Prior + Partners. The shortlist was selected by the jury panel from an exceptionally strong field of 40 entries. In an extremely competitive field, all shortlisted teams scored highly against the stage 1 criteria of creative ability, problem definition, collaborative thinking, communication skills and the overall diversity and inclusivity of the team.

Anna Strongman, CEO, Oxford University Development, said:

“We were inspired by the high quality of the entries and excited by the potential of Begbroke outlined by the teams. Practices and collaborations grasped the challenge of creating a place of world leading research alongside a community calling Begbroke home. We look forward to engaging with the short-listed teams to explore ideas further in stage 2.’’

The winning design team will set the bold ambition and design intent for a project that will transform the area around the University’s Begbroke Science Park, to the north of Oxford. The project will also create a community of up to 2,000 quality homes, with new schools, public park and nature reserve.

OUD’s aspiration is to create a boundary-pushing scheme that demonstrably achieves a step-change in sustainable design, delivery, and operation. The new district will seek to attract the very best minds, while driving economic growth, improving transport connections, delivering benefits for local people, as well as enhancing the surrounding natural landscape for public access. The site will provide an exemplary new setting for the University’s world-leading science and innovation, which will help address key global challenges facing humanity – from food security and biodiversity to climate change and the urgent need to move to a zero-carbon economy.

The ambition for Begbroke is anchored by Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan Partial Review, which has identified the site for a high-quality mixed-use development, comprising a range of research & development, residential, and associated social and physical infrastructure uses, such as schools, local centres, amenity space and recreation/leisure uses, as well as excellent connectivity to the City of Oxford by sustainable means.

The first phase of the scheme will bring forward new facilities for University research, as well as providing space to incubate spin-out companies.