Rafael Viñoly, Mathematical Institute, Oxford University, green roof, glazing, natural light, BREEAM Excellent, green design, geothermal energy, energy efficiency, sustainable design, eco-design, UK

Comprised of two wings joined by a glazed volume, the University of Oxford’s new Mathematical Institute is designed to provide the scientists with the requisite privacy while also promoting collaboration. A giant atrium with a glazed clerestory runs virtually the entire length of the building, bringing natural light not only to the mezzanine level but also to the below grade classrooms and lecture theaters. Heating and cooling is achieved with a ground source pumping system.

The green roof and terrace provides both staff and pupils with a great, healthy place to pass time, but the sedum also promotes biodiversity, controls rainwater runoff and improves the program’s overall energy performance. The vertical louvers protect the interior against excess solar gain (and give researchers protection from curious eyes), further ensuring that very little mechanical intervention will be required to keep the building cool. Rainwater and greywater will be recycled to irrigate the grounds and 500 parking bays for bicycles will promote cleaner transportation. Construction of the 262,600 square foot facility is expected to be complete in 2013.

+ Rafael Viñoly