Abingdon Police Station Oxford

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Translucent film cut in concentric rectangles applied to the glass front elevation. Internally illuminated with programmable blue and violet fluorescent tubes. The work allows light patterns cast by the sun and a varying programmable version of the traditional police blue light at night.

Client: Thames Valley Police
Commissioning agent: Artpoint Trust
Architect: Building Design Partnership
Developer: Balfour Beatty
Budget: £34,750
Photos: Mark Bayley, Paul Bayley
Publication: Translucent, published by Artpoint Trust in collaboration with White Horse District Council, Balfour Beatty and Thames Valley Police, 2000. Catalogue essay by Simon Morley.
Acknowledgments: Ruth Charity, Artpoint Trust; Arts & Business paring scheme.

This commission was a result of a competitive interview organised by Ruth Charity of Artpoint Trust. The project has been written about more fully in the accompanying catalogue, but I think it’s worth mentioning again how police station architecture in England is usually in keeping with the local vernacular, and so this one designed by Building Design Partnership is in a commercial ‘park’ on the outskirts of Abingdon and looks more than somewhat like a smart shopping mall, with atrium, floating floors and glass facades. I particularly enjoy how the film applied to the glass creates far-reaching oblongs of light floating across the deep inner surfaces as the sun goes down. At night, a variant on the blue light, as blue and violet fluorescent tubes cross-fade in a variety of configurations. Why cut off your nose to spite your face?