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Foster + Partners bags Oxford science centre job

Foster + Partners has won a £30 million commission for a new science and enterprise centre in Oxford

The global giant saw off Edward Cullinan Architects, BDP, Dixon Jones, Hawkins\Brown and locally based Berman Guedes Stretton to secure the five-year project for technology charity Science Oxford.

The 1969 Oxford County Architect-designed Macclesfield House municipal offices building will be demolished to make way for the centre.

Images of the winning scheme are still under wraps but are expected to be published early next year ahead of the project going for planning in June 2011.

The science-focused public building will showcase new technological innovation from the Oxford area and will feature a digital planetarium, public plaza, café and shop. Conference facilities and space for start-up business will also be provided.

The 0.2 hectare city centre site borders the Grade I-listed remains of Oxford Castle’s motte, built in the 11th century.

Chris Connell of Foster + Partners said: ‘The designs are at a preliminary stage, but our intention is to create a striking contemporary addition to the city’s rich architectural heritage that symbolises and embodies the possibilities of science and the future of technology.’

The building is expected to handle 100,000 visitors a year.

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