The Blavatnik School of Government’s buildings on Walton Street are now complete and open for use. This will allow the 117 post-graduate students at the centre to move from the three separate locations they occupy into this purpose-built space.
The BSG opened in 2010 following a £75 million donation by Russian billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, which was combined with £25 million from Oxford University. The School’s namesake founded Access Industries and generated wealth in oil and other ventures. The School opened its doors to students in 2012, when one-year Masters students were admitted to complete degrees in Public Policy. Lecturers then included the former shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and the South African political Trevor Manuel.
Architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron designed the newly-opened structure, which has cost $80 million to construct, according to Architectural Digest. The exterior consists almost entirely of glass panes across a series of “disk-shaped levels”. To represent openness and collaboration, the building’s interior focuses on a central “public forum” surrounded by classes and office-space allowing light to fill the main area.
There are environmental perks too—it is expected to consume half the energy required to run similar buildings on campus and is fitted with solar panels, rainwater intake and ground-heated water supplies.