Art in Headington

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“Origin” sculpture, Li Ka Shing Centre, Old Road campus (2017)


This landmark sculpture entitled “Origin” by Julian Wild stands outside the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery and forms a large bridge over a grassed area between the Big Data Institute (BDI) and the research building of the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM). It is intended to celebrate the innovation that takes place at the BDI and Target Discovery and was erected on Saturday 18 March 2017. The Centre was officially opened on 17 May 2017.

When the sun shines from the south (above) the sculpture is reflected in the windows of the building behind it.

At this centre of the bridge (see detail below) the forms of the sculpture break down into a pixelated network of rectangular blocks, revealing its polished stainless-steel core.

Centre of sculpture

It comprises two rectangular bars emerging from the ground that meet in the middle where they are pixilated into a network of rectangular blocks. It is 5m high, 12m long, and 2.2m wide, and is constructed of steel and stainless steel, mostly painted red. It was funded by the Hong Kong philanthropist Li Ka Shing.

This is the first of three artworks planned in the Old Road Campus Public Art Strategy, which addresses the whole site with the establishment of an “aggregated” public art budget, which, rather than being linked to individual buildings, is utilized strategically. It will be delivered over a five-year period between 2015 and 2020. The University considers that the Oxford City Council planning guidance for public art should be viewed as an opportunity rather than a requirement.

A major sculpture/landscape collaboration between an artist and landscape designer is planned for the site adjoining the new Amenities Building (2016–2018) and the major commission will be in the Central Square in the centre of the new buildings (2017–2019).

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© Stephanie Jenkins


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