Work progressing well at our £440 million project to transform Westgate Oxford, UK

A year on since being appointed the Delivery Architect for the new Westgate Oxford shopping centre we visited the construction site to find out how the work was progressing.

Site work is now well underway at the 800,000 sq.ft. Westgate Oxford scheme with the new John Lewis anchor store, basement car park and residential building all taking shape. The vast retail-led development which commenced in January 2015 is being delivered by Chapman Taylor with 16 full-time architects working on the scheme and another 5 support staff.

The project is a joint venture between The Crown Estate and Land Securities Group PLC with Laing O’Rourke appointed as the principal contractor. The new scheme will include over 100 new stores, 25 restaurants and cafes and has attracted national and international retail brands including a new 140,000 sq. ft. John Lewis department store, Next, Primark and a five screen boutique Curzon cinema. The development is set to revitalise what was formerly a tired area of the city and invigorate the public realm. It will be capable of hosting a variety of events throughout the year within the central arcade and at rooftop restaurant level.

Construction is now taking place across the whole of the Westgate site. Part of the existing Westgate Centre and car park have been demolished and the refurbishment of the existing entrance has commenced. To the southwest of the site, the construction of the two storey basement car park is continuing with the upper floor levels of the new John Lewis department store clearly visible. The department store is one of the 5 individually designed buildings connected by a series of public spaces, arcades and pedestrian bridges which sit under elegant glass and steel roofs creating a naturally ventilated light and open space. In addition, the residential building which overlooks Castle Mill stream and delivered by Hawkins Brown Architects is also starting to take shape. For the interested public, designated viewing locations have been made in the site hoardings and the Westgate Oxford website provides further information on the progress of archaeological excavations in addition to a live webcam of the construction site.


In more recent developments, designs for a dramatic new public art installation in the form of a glass ‘Lantern’ were revealed by the Westgate Oxford Alliance. The lantern designed by renowned Swiss artist Daniela Schönbächler in collaboration with Dixon Jones Architects, BDP and Modus Operandi will be built on the northwest brick tower adjacent to Bonn Square. The design of the lantern consists of 78 glass panels with varying degrees of translucence and colour and will reflect various degrees of light throughout the day. The lantern plays homage to Roger Bacon, one of Oxford’s most famous Franciscan friars and who was an expert in optics, light reflection and refraction.

Westgate Oxford is due for completion in time for Christmas 2017, opening its doors in October.

For more information please contact:
Phillip Durrans

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