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|Client:||The University of Oxford|
This competition-winning scheme will create a new Centre for the Humanities at the University of Oxford with state-of-the-art academic, exhibition and performance spaces. As well as bringing together for the first time all of the University’s humanities departments, the building will provide high quality public exhibition and performance spaces to increase community engagement. The Centre, which was made possible by a landmark £150 million gift from philanthropist and businessman Stephen A. Schwarzman, will be situated on the University’s Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site.
The Centre will house a unique combination of seven university faculties, the Institute for Ethics in AI, the Oxford Internet Institute and a new Humanities Library, alongside a 500 seat concert hall, a 250 seat theatre, exhibition and lecture spaces and a publicly accessible café. Exhibitions, lectures and performances will bring Oxford’s research to wide audiences through the new Humanities Cultural Programme, and a schools and public engagement centre will give local schoolchildren contact with research and researchers.
The project has appropriately strong sustainability objectives for the design, construction and operation of the building. It will be a highly energy efficient building designed to Passivhaus principles, with solar power generation on the roof, very high levels of insulation and all-electric power, with heat pumps rather than boilers. Cycle parking, biodiverse planting and landscaping and the creation of new green spaces, will enhance the public realm.
Bringing together the entire Humanities Division into a single building will transform the pedagogic, research and interdisciplinary possibilities for the departments and institutes for the future. The combination of academic and public uses are an exciting new catalyst for the interaction of the University and the City.
The Centre is due to open in 2025.
Professor Karen O’Brien, Head of Humanities, Oxford University.