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St John's College Oxford Kendrew's Milestone

MJP Architects was appointed to design the Kendrew Quadrangle at St John’s College Oxford in 2006 and Modus Operandi subsequently appointed to advise and manage two art commissions.


The sculpture Kendrew’s Milestone by artists Langlands & Bell is an interpretation of John Kendrew’s Nobel Prize winning achievement: the revelation of the structure of the protein molecule Myoglobin.  The sculpture's inlaid design is derived from a pixellated scientific diagram that describes the structure of Myoglobin.  It shows a series of amino acids containing the heme prosthetic group coloured bright red, with the iron atom at its centre.  The apparently abstract network of multiple links and connections is profoundly grounded in material and biological reality.


Anthony Boyce, formerly Senior Bursar of St John’s College, Oxford, describes how the commission came about:


‘When plans for the Kendrew Quadrangle, completed in 2010, were under consideration, the College again decided to support the wishes of the architects, MJP Architects, that art be an integral part of the design.  The success of Vivien Lovell in the commissioning arrangements for the Garden Quadrangle made her and her team, now at Modus Operandi Art Consultants, an excellent choice for the Kendrew Quadrangle project.’

The St John's Kendrew Quadrangle redevelopment won a 2011 RIBA award.



Langlands & Bell

Title of work

Kendrew's Milestone


St John's College Oxford


MJP Architects





Image credit