How a Timber Pavilion Binds Oxford’s £700m Revamp

The new redevelopment will occur in one of the world's most researched pieces of woodland

Thu 23 Nov 23


A new mass timber cycling pavilion, part of a £700 million rejuvenation on the grounds of St John’s College, Oxford University, has been approved by the council.

The pavilion, designed by UK architect Fletcher Priest, will feature 191 long-stay cycle spaces and is a vital part of Oxford’s push to replace vehicles on the road with cyclists.

According to Fletcher Priest, who is responsible for the ‘Oxford North’ masterplan said the pavilion’s radial design was inspired by wheel spokes “with vertical timber battens enclosing the upper floor.”

“This design will give the effect of a lantern at night and views across the surrounding market square during the day,” according to a spokesperson from the studio.

The pavilion will be connected to a 5,710m² office block and is the basis of the first stage of Oxford North redevelopment, along with a new public realm and two other buildings designed by the practice.

Fletcher Priest is collaborating with UK architecture practices Gort Scott and WilkinsonEyre on the masterplan, with the practices securing permission to build three buildings in the scheme’s second phase in September.

When complete, the two-phase Oxford North scheme will create a hub for small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups and laboratories with 480 homes and 87,000m² of new labs and workspaces. 

According to David Camp, CEO of Stanhope – one of the developers involved in the project, the decision to approve the pavilion was “great news for cyclists.”

The pavilion, he said, is critical to “the masterplan’s heart and celebrates cycling as the most sustainable mode of transport.”

The master plan for the £700 million rejuvenation of the 28-hectare precinct on the grounds of the University of Oxford was approved in 2022. (Renders provided by Fletcher Priest)
About the Oxford North £700 million Innovation Precinct

In March 2021, Fletcher Priest was given approval to design a new master plan for over twenty acres of open space and three new parks on the grounds of St John’s College at Oxford University.

According to Fletcher Priest, the buildings are oriented to enhance connectivity with the local landscape, including framed views towards Wytham Woods, an ancient semi-natural woodland owned and maintained by the University of Oxford.

“Its 1,000 acres are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and are one of the world’s most researched pieces of woodland, exceptionally rich in flora and fauna.

The cycling pavilion is expected to be finalised in the second quarter 2025.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


Related Articles