Friday, January 30, 2009

the art of biochemistry

Oxford's biochemistry department has a brand new building, and apparently there is a lot of science-related art to be admired inside it, as Georgina Ferry writes in Nature this week. Just over 1 % of the budget was spent on art.

I believe that in Germany, there is actually a legal requirement for public building projects of this scale to spend one percent of the budget on art, known as "Kunst am Bau". At the University of Regensburg, which was built from scratch in the late 1960s, there are so many works of art that there is a whole book about them:
Rund um die Kugel. The sphere of the book title is the most prominent of them all, a massive, maybe 5 m diameter metal ball that practically embodies the centre of gravity of the whole campus. My PhD supervisor was on the committee that commissioned these works, so he has a few stories to tell about the creative and selective processes.

Anyhow, I will have to have a look inside the new biochemistry here. In theory, there is a panorama to be viewed online, but it doesn't work on the computer I'm using right now. I definitely like the outside of the building, with the multicoloured panels sticking out of the facade. Nobody told the departmental website guys that they have a new building -- the website still shows an aerial view of the old ones they knocked down (next to the tower which they left standing for now).

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