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Zaha unwraps polished steel Middle East Centre extension


Zaha Hadid Architects has completed its long-awaited extension to the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford

The 1,127m² curved shiny steel extension was first revealed to local residents back in 2007, and eventually won planning in 2009 but work on site didn’t start until four years later after funding issues caused delays.

The building which connects to the college’s existing Middle East Centre, curves around a protected tree on the site which had originally delayed the planning application.

The three-storey scheme features a 117-seat lecture theatre, reading room, archive, library, and offices.

The centre holds Oxford University’s collection on the modern Middle East – an archive of private papers and historic photographs used by scholars and researchers with an interest in the region.

Zaha Hadid Oxford

Project data

Location Oxford
Type of project higher education
Client Middle East Centre, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
Architect Zaha Hadid Architects
Structural engineer AKTII
M&E engineer Max Fordham
Façade consultant Arup Façade Engineering
Cost consultant Sense Cost
Lighting designer Arup Lighting
Main contractor BAM
Fire engineer Arup Fire
Planning supervisor Jppc Oxford
Forestry and arboriculture consultant Sarah Venner
Access consultant David Bonnet
Landscape designer Gross Max
CDM consultant Andrew Goddard Associates
Acoustic consultant Max Fordham
Completion date June 2015
Gross internal floor area 1,127m2
Overall site area 1,580m2


Readers' comments (3)

  • A refreshing contrast to the surround buildings, but the 'cheek by jowl' juxtaposition of the 'cut end' of the new with the facade of the old makes the new look crude and overbearing - unless the two buildings aren't as close as the photos suggest.

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  • For me, this buildind, ust shows a total disrespect for Oxford University. I fail to understand how the College permitted such a mistake. We all know what the birds think about it but unfortunately they do not understand the power of a 'Starchitect' satus. A 'shame' on the planning office!

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  • A group of alumni from the Oxford School of Architecture viewed the building at the week-end. As a piece of sculpture its very impressive. If the building were detached, perhaps wholly contained within a college setting it could work in its own right but the juxtaposition between the adjacent Victorian and Edwardian buildings to which it connects simply doesn't work on so many levels.

    Not one of Zaha's best I'm afraid.

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