Science Oxford unveils ambitious plans for new £30 million Science Centre in 1960s tower block

By Richard Moss | 18 November 2010
a photo of a group of people outside a concrete cladded building called Macclesfield House
Members of Oxfordshire County Council and Science Oxford outside the site of Oxford's proposed new Science Centre
Science Oxford, the charitable organisation behind the Oxford Science Festival and the city’s science visitor centre Science Oxford Live, have unveiled ambitious plans for a new venue. 

Macclesfield House, a 1960s office block tucked behind the city's Oxford Castle Mound in New Road, has been purchased from Oxfordshire County Council and will be transformed into a new science centre by 2015.

Plans for the building include an immersive theatre, interactive science gallery for children and a flexible space for exhibitions, demonstrations, presentations and workshops. There will also be space for a retail area and café. 

Science Oxford bosses hope to create a “world class” science centre which will attract more than 100,000 visitors a year.

“In creating a new public centre for science and innovation here in Oxford, our vision is to bring the excitement of science and the joy of discovery right to the heart of our city,” explained Science Oxford Chief Executive Ian Griffin.

“Our region has an array of world class science facilities and our economy is powered by science based companies, many of which have spun off from our world leading universities. Yet to date, there hasn’t been a place where local people and visitors to Oxford can learn about the amazing things that are being discovered and created locally.”

an aerial photograph with locations marked on it
The new science venue will sit nearer to the heart of the city
The centre will also showcase the inspiring discoveries and inventions which boost Oxford’s economy, explaining to young and old how science and technology underpin our lives and culture.

Science Oxford already runs an innovative programme of educational events, exhibitions and lectures from its London Place venue, Science Oxford Live. The new centre will build on that experience to provide a place which will “demystify and democratise science” and encourage ideas to be exchanged in a “welcoming environment where debates and dialogue engage the whole community”. 

In a city of numerous Nobel Prize winners, planners are also promising a venture to make local people proud of the scientific achievements which have taken place in the county.

Architects Foster + Partners have been appointed to design the building, and Oxfordshire based Ridge and Partners have been taken on as project managers. It is estimated the project will need around £30 million in order to come to fruition, of which £10 million has already been pledged.

Find out more about the project and join the consultation process at
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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