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What ever happened to… Hadid’s Ear Trumpet?

Astragal’s occasional series revisits Zaha Hadid’s proposals for a three-storey ‘bridge-cum-library’ at St Anthony’s College, Oxford

Plan A 1,200m2 curved funnel-like extension to the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College in Morse-country housing a library and lecture theatre. Somebody dubbed it the Softbridge.

Signs of life The local conservationists thought it was out of keeping when first shown early models in late 2007. CABE then chipped in, branding the trumpet – then grey/white in colour – ‘awkward’ (June 2008).

But after a few tweaks and a change of colour (to a browny bronze), last September the planners were seduced by Zaha’s curves.  

What happened next? A tree got in the way. The college is still waiting to hear back from Oxford City Council about plans to deal with a redwood tree that sits ‘at the centre of the project.’ What’s more the scheme relies, in part, on external funds which aren’t forthcoming, so things have stalled. Groundbreaking is not now expected until at least 2010.

And Astragal’s highly scientific ‘will it ever get built’ rating? 79 per cent. Not this year. Possibly not even next. But one day.

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