Andrew Wiles Building, Oxford University, UK

Raphael Viñoly
Date Built
Former Radcliffe Hospital Site on the Woodstock Road
The Andrew Wiles Building, located on the site of the former Radcliffe Hospital, is home to the University of Oxford's Mathematics Institute.  Following the opening of the new Radcliffe Hospital, the site was cleared and work began on a master plan for what the university calls the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter because of its proximity to the historic observatory, shown below.

Rafael Viñoly drew up the master plan for the site and also designed the Wiles Building, named after Sir Andrew Wiles, a British mathematician and professor at the University of Oxford noted for proving Fermat's Last Theorem. The building has made it possible for a department previously scattered in a variety of settings throughout the university to be consolidated on one site.

The architect's website says that, "...In keeping with the overall master plan, the massing and exterior of the Mathematical Institute is sensitive to the historic buildings adjacent to the site. The building also has the opportunity to set the standard for future sustainable design across the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter; it incorporates a site-wide energy center, housing a combined heat and cooling system linked to over 100 energy piles, which is capable of further expansion as the site is developed.  In addition, the project relies upon natural ventilation to all faculty offices enhanced by nighttime purging and exposed concrete soffits. The building envelope incorporates motorized solar shading to minimize solar gain, green roofs and a rainwater/grey water recycling system, all of which contribute to the BREEAM Excellent rating achieved at design stage.

An atrium links the wings of the building providing places for social gathering. 

Bridges and staircases provide circulation within the building.  Lecture halls, classrooms and seminar rooms are arranged around the open space.


In addition to the construction of new buildings on the site, the redevelopment has involved the refurbishment of the historic buildings that remain.


In 2015 a sculpture of a tree was erected on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter outside the Andrew Wiles Building.  The Alchemical Tree was designed by artist Simon Periton and is described on the Oxford University website as follows:  "...The Alchemical Tree was inspired by historical images of such trees, symbolising growth, transformation, interdisciplinary collaboration and a quest for knowledge. ....

... Periton’s Alchemical Tree – cast from an ash tree in Norfolk – features a golden crown hooked around the trunk, below a series of scrolled banners amongst the tree’s branches and inscribed with texts suggested by departments based within the ROQ.'The crown references an illustration from Salomon Trismosin’s manuscript Splendor Solis (a famous treatise on alchemy from the 16th century), and represents the successful attainment of a higher state, a realisation of perfection."