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Five years on, work starts on Zaha's Oxford college scheme

[New images] Construction is finally set to start later this month on Zaha Hadid’s long-awaited extension to the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford

The 1,200m2, curved, funnel-like addition, officially dubbed the Softbridge, was first revealed to local residents in late 2007 and was eventually handed full planning permission in March 2009 after issues with a redwood tree on the site were resolved.

Zaha Hadid’s proposed new extension to the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford [Image: January 2013] - main staircase

Zaha Hadid’s proposed new extension to the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford [Image: January 2013] - main staircase

A ground-breaking ceremony for the project, which has been delayed by funding issues, has been pencilled in for the 30 January.

The three-storey scheme will house a reading room, library, storage space and a lecture hall. Initial proposals featured a Corian skin, however that was subsequently replaced by stainless steel cladding.

1291_Second_Floor_Plan

Previous story (AJ 19.12.2009)

Zaha Hadid reveals latest images of Oxford college scheme

[IMAGES + PROJECT DATA] The AJ can reveal exclusive shots of Zaha Hadid’s proposed new extension to the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford

The 1,200m2, curved, funnel-like addition, officially dubbed the Softbridge, was finally given full planning permission in March this year (2009), after issues with a redwood tree on the site were resolved.

The three-storey scheme, which will house a reading room, library, storage space and a lecture hall, has been designed to Stage E and is expected to go out to tender next year (2010). Explaining the future timetable, a spokesman said: ‘The state of the global economy has slowed down our funding, but we are still planning to break ground in 2011.’ 

Originally white in colour, the Corian cladding of the trumpet-like building was changed to a darker hue to appease the planners and CABE.

Project Data

Client: Middle East Centre, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Design team: Jim Heverin, Kenneth Bostock, Goswin Rothenthal, Theodora Ntatsopoulou, Saleem Abdil
Mireia Sala Font, Amita Kulkarni
Structural Engineers: Adams Kara Taylor
Mechanical/Electrical/Accoustics: Max Fordham
Lighting Design: Arup Lighting
Facade Consultants: Arup Facade Engineering
Cost Consultants: Sense Cost
Fire Engineers: Arup Fire
Planning Supervision: JPPC Oxford
Forestry and Arboriculture Consultant: Sarah Venner
Access: David Bonnet
Landscape: Gross Max
CDM: Andrew Goddard Associates

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