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Jennie Lee Building

On 10 June 2005 the Open University (OU) embarked on the procurement of a new £17m High Technology building to be built at the campus in Milton Keynes. HEFCE provided a grant of £15.3m. The total cost at the end of the project was £19.4m, some £2.4m over budget.  Clearance of the site including demolition of the old Jennie Lee library building commenced in June 2006.  The construction of the new building commenced in September 2006. Practical Completion was achieved in February 2008, which was within tolerated timescales. 

The successful development is an important component in the evolving OU strategy to provide world class facilities for research and learning.

The new building on the old Library site was named in honour of Jennie Lee who was instrumental in the founding of The Open University.

The building aspires to:

  • Continue to enable the flexible deployment of established and emerging technologies, specifically ambient and mobile technologies.
  • Extend its function and ambience into the immediate environment and the adjoining areas of the campus.
  • Facilitate the configuration of flexible environments in which to conduct people-centred research and teaching experiments.
  • Enable the flexible configuration of efficient, attractive spaces that support the full range of academicactivities and their administrative and technical support.
  • Provide for adequate storage, technical and common space.
  • Provide a showcase for ambient technology-related research and teaching, attracting sponsors, visitors and participants and shaping the perception of the University as an institution leading the use of technology to support learning.
  • Respond to the existing campus and buildings.
  • Represent best value for money taking into account capital, operational and life-cycle costs over a 40 year design life.
  • Meet requirements for energy and emission reductions to BREEAM or similar standards.
  • Use maintenance strategies which take account of OU capabilities and estate management procedures.

The following were the project professional team:

Role Provider
Project Manager (& contract admin’) OU (In House Estates Team)
Architect (and design manager) Swanke Hayden Connell
Engineering Buro Happold
Quantity Surveyor Ridge Associates
Principal Contractor Galliford Try


Contact Us


Jennie Lee Research Lab enquiries
Institute of Educational Technology
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

The Jennie Lee Building is on the left of the campus map.

Jennie Lee Research Labs Enquiry form