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FIRST LOOK

BDP completes £278m Westgate Oxford retail development

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Lead architect BDP worked with Glenn Howells, Allies and Morrison, Panter Hudspith and Dixon Jones to deliver this major mixed-use development in Oxford

The new centre comprises a department store, over 100 retail units ranging in size, and 30 restaurants and cafes. A new public roof terrace with walkways and courts leads to the restaurants and bars which provide views across the city’s historic roofscape.

BDP led the masterplan for the development which required seamlessly stitching into the historic city fabric. The new Westgate arranges a series of four individual urban blocks, tied together by public spaces and urban fabric that operate as a single entity. The public spaces integrate with the surrounding city streets and lanes to form a cross weave of arcades and lanes, linking the blocks together while integrating with and connecting the different areas of the city.

BDP was also the lead architect in the selected collaborative group of architects for the scheme, working closely with Glenn Howells, Allies and Morrison, Panter Hudspith and Dixon Jones, and has been responsible for the design of all the common areas which join all the buildings together. These include three distinct glass covered urban spaces plus a two-storey underground car park and service yard. BDP designed the glass roofs over each space, which let in maximum daylight and complement the architecture of the different blocks without overwhelming them.

2 bdp 9961 b

2 bdp 9961 b

An energy loop system delivers heating and cooling to shops and restaurants, using air source heat pumps in place of conventional boilers. This system avoids the use of natural gas, keeping costs down for retailers and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The construction of Westgate Oxford created around 1,000 jobs, with Chapman Taylor supporting the contractor Laing O’Rourke, as the delivery architect. Landsec worked closely with Aspire Oxford to create employment programmes in construction and customer service for ex-offenders, the long-term unemployed and those who have been homeless in the past into work. The centre itself will create 3,500 full time-equivalent retail jobs. 

Architect’s view

Extending the retail core of Oxford’s historic city centre was always going to be a challenging task. With the scale of such a project came the responsibility of achieving a commercially and operationally successful shopping centre while seamlessly integrating a large new building into the city fabric and historic skyline.

The masterplan’s brief was to provide a contemporary shopping and leisure destination to attract customers back to the city centre. Due to its scale, such a development in the city centre required a uniquely different type of shopping centre with a variety and richness of architecture, which would be best achieved through a collaborative approach involving a number of architects.

Peter Coleman, project director, BDP

Westgate common element concepts

Westgate common element concepts

Developer’s view

We knew that we had to deliver something special for one of the world’s most famous and vibrant cities. We have worked hard with our partners at Landsec to design Westgate with the whole of Oxford in mind and created the largest retail development to launch in the UK this year, filling a much-needed retail need in the heart of the city. By combining fashion, food and film with inspiring rooftop views and bold architecture, all set within the sights and sounds of an historical British city, we believe we have created a truly game-changing shopping and leisure experience for everyone.

Hannah Milne, director of regional retail, The Crown Estate

Project data

Start on site January 2015
Completion October 2017
Gross internal floor area 5.6 hectares
Construction cost £278 million
Architect BDP (masterplanner, lead architect and common elements architect); Glenn Howells (Block 1 and 1A); Panter Hudspith (Block 2); Allies and Morrison (Block 3); Dixon Jones (Block 4)
Delivery architect Chapman Taylor
Main contractor Laing O’Rourke 
Landscape architect Gillespies
Landscape architect (roof space) LDA Design
Services engineer Hoare Lea
Structural engineer Waterman
Cost consultant Gardiner and Theobald
Project planner Mace
BREEAM rating Excellent

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Better than shopping online?! A tribute to the quality of professionals working together for the good of all. Even our pensioners are supported?

    What does it look like from Headington Hill? Or from the river? Might even be worth a trip on the train, and a walk up the hill past the Castle? Where would we be without Oxford Town?

    Well done Guys and Gals🏢🎓🏄💙

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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