If you have bravely taken that first journey back in to the centre of Oxford over the past week and cast your eyes down Cornmarket Street, you will have seen that our new Northgate development is beginning to rise above the hoardings.
Working within the current social distancing restrictions, the BAM team has been able to continue to with the construction of our new College building and the results are clear to see. The concrete slab of the ground floor is nearly complete and work has started on the construction of the first floor and the supporting concrete columns for the second floor.
Reinforcement and formwork to the basement walls continues and we’ve had our first view of the internal basement space (see photo below). Building work on the stair cores – including the structure that will support our stunning central staircase – has also begun.
We are working towards the delivery, in late summer, of the cross-laminated timber (CLT) that will be used on the upper floors of the building. The CLT is produced from Kiln-dried finger-jointed spruce and fir that has been sourced from sustainable-managed forests in Germany. It is incredibly strong, thanks to timber engineering technology which enables the cutting and gluing of timber sheets under a high pressure bonding system in perpendicular layers. The adhesive used in the cross-lamination process is solvent and formaldehyde free. Manufacturer KLH uses low energy processes to produce the CLT – including reconstituting the timber remnants (sawdust and shavings) into biomass pellets to be used towards heating and powering their factory.
Towards a digital future
Once completed Northgate will comprises new and accessible postgraduate accommodation, learning and teaching spaces and a new quad. At the heart of the development is the Digital Hub, a flexible, open and collaborative space in which we will be able to promote the very best interdisciplinary learning and research, facilitate knowledge exchange and bring our community together to collaborate, reflect and celebrate.
The Digital Hub also has an important role to play in how we engage with wider audiences; through the use of the latest digital technologies we will be able to support creative activities such as interactive performances, films, talks and exhibitions to engage public audiences in new and unique ways.