Middle East Centre (Investcorp Building)
Providing modern academic space for the existing department at St Antony’s College, this new link building consists of archive storage, a café, gallery, library and a lecture hall, exquisitely designed and finely tuned in response to a constrained surrounding environment.
The project posed several challenges relating to the design and coordination of a 3D curved form located between two existing buildings and in close proximity to a sequoia tree. In order to overcome this challenge, we used 3D drawing tools which allowed structural elements to be accurately positioned and coordinated within a three-dimensional curved envelope.
The building structure is made from in-situ reinforced concrete, with the exception of the roof, which has timber as its main material. The architectural aspiration for an exposed concrete building required special attention in the design and detailing of the reinforced concrete structure. The visual appearance of the long exposed concrete walls did not allow the introduction of any expansion joints requiring finite element analysis to assess thermal effects on the reinforced concrete frame. Several lighting features were also incorporated into the detailing of the concrete structure, such as the linear lighting slots in the exposed soffit of the first floor slab. However the key to the successful delivery of the fair face concrete was an understanding of the architectural aspirations from an early stage of the project and the collaborative development of the details.
This iconic project provides a very good example of how a modern form of construction and architecture can be executed within a space framed by traditional architecture. The ambition will be for the space to inspire people to study within the building, and socialise in the surrounding area.
An iconic curved structure in contrast with historic Oxford
St Antony’s College
Zaha Hadid Architects
£ 9 million
- 2016 WAF Award – Best Higher Education & Research
- 2016 RIBA National Award
- 2016 RIBA Regional Award