Oxford University

Maths Institute

Oxford University’s new Mathematical Institute facility is at the centre of the department’s and its students’ academic life. Hardscape worked with Rafael Viñoly Architects and Townshend landscape architects to create an attractive paving design surrounding the building, featuring beautiful and intriguing patterns, influenced by geometric shapes. 

The Project

The building is named after Professor Sir Andrew Wiles – one of Oxford’s most celebrated mathematicians who cracked the 300 year-old mathematical mystery, Fermat’s Last Theorem, in March 2016.

Constructed from two different diamond-shaped granite tiles, the ‘Penrose’ paving design was inspired by Sir Roger Penrose, Professor of Mathematics, who identified non-periodic tiling that exhibits both reflection and fivefold rotational symmetry.

Installed by Vetter UK, a subsidiary of Laing O’ Rourke, the paving gives the appearance of a 3D effect. To enhance the illusion, Artscape etching techniques were applied to add shadow and depth to the White and Kobra grey granite tiles, chosen for their unique texture and colouring.

Each tile was adorned with 30mm stainless steel circular arcs that reflect sunlight and were later polished to give a high-shine mirroring effect. Both the steel and stone were precision cut using a powerful waterjet and bonded with a durable cement and resin.

The kerbs and edgings give a contemporary finished look to the area. European Amarelo Reale and Roriz granite setts and West Pennine sandstone paving, cladding and copings were locally sourced, contributing to a low energy BREEAM rating. The materials also tied in with the rest of the landscaping Hardscape had supplied across other phases in the Oxford area, while fitting in with the local history.

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Oxford University

Maths Institute


Hardscape R&D Centre
Unit F2-A, Lomax Way, Bolton BL5 1DB