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Foster submits plans for Science Oxford museum

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Foster + Partners has submitted its £38 million contest-winning Science Oxford scheme for planning – two and half years after landing the high-profile museum job

Dubbed ‘The Magnet’, the triangle-shaped building features a planetarium at its core alongside a discovery centre capable of handling 150,000 visitors each year.

An Innovation Centre, also proposed for the 0.2 hectare scheme, will accommodate 50 local high-tech companies.

Foster + Partners beat Edward Cullinan Architects, BDP, Dixon Jones, Hawkins\Brown and locally based Berman Guedes Stretton to land the job for the technology charity Science Oxford in November 2010.

The scheme – which replaces the 1969 Oxford County Architect-designed Macclesfield House municipal offices – was originally expected to be submitted for planning in July 2011.

Commenting on the long wait, Science Oxford chief executive Ian Griffin said: ‘The process was not driven by commercial pressures and we’ve done it at a pace that was right for us.’

He added that the delay was partly down to the unique nature of Oxford and the ‘brilliant and also complicated’ site which borders the Grade I-listed remains of Oxford Castle motte, built in the 11th century.

The project is expected to start next year and to open in summer 2015, if consented.

Foster + Partners' Science Oxford scheme – dubbed 'The Magnet'

Foster + Partners’ Science Oxford scheme – dubbed ‘The Magnet’

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