The new Investcorp Building for the Middle East Centre provides 1,127 square metres of additional floor space and a new 117-seat lecture theatre; doubling the space available for the Middle East Centre’s expanding library & archive, and providing optimum conditions to conserve and manage the centre’s collections.
As an integral part of the college’s on-going expansion plans, the Investcorp Building incorporates essential new facilities to meet the Middle East Centre’s increasing demand for research and academic activities.
The Invescorp Building complements the college’s ongoing development. Its design weaves through the restricted site at St Antony’s College to connect and incorporate the existing protected buildings and trees; while its stainless steel facade softly reflects natural light to echo the building’s context.
The building integrates new academic and research facilities within a design defined by the existing built and natural environment of the college. The project maintains the detached character of the college’s current buildings, allowing them to be read as separate elements, while introducing a contemporary building that conveys the past, present and future evolution of the college, university and city.
To the west, the project’s scale defers to the existing buildings of 66 & 68 Woodstock Road. The curved form of library reading room’s western façade accommodates the century-old Sequoia tree and its extensive root network; while a drainage system has been installed below the foundation slabs to ensure the tree receives enough moisture. To the east, the archive reading room and librarians’ offices rise towards the height of the 1970 brutalist Hilda Besse Building it faces, yet the new Investcorp Building remains below the roofline of the adjacent 66 Woodstock Road.
The 117-seat lecture theatre is located below ground and is ventilated through a thermal labyrinth. A similar labyrinth exists beneath the library archive room to achieve the essential environmental controls and mitigate the need for mechanical air-handling. A ground source heat pump provides active ground coupling controlled for both temperature and humidity, creating a secure environment to conserve the centre’s renowned collection.
The work of the Middle East Centre contributes to the global discourse and greater understanding of the region. The new Investcorp Building connects disparate buildings within the college, defining a series of spaces for the centre’s renowned archive, library and seminar programmes; allowing the Middle East Centre to expand its commitment as a vital forum of research, understanding and open debate.
The Investcorp Building for Oxford University’s Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford
Program: university building
Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)
Structural Engineer: AKTII
Mechanical/Electrical/Acoustic Engineer: Max Fordham
Facade Supplier: Frener + Reifer
Facade Consultants: Arup Façade Engineering
Lighting Design: Arup Lighting
Cost Consultants: Sense Cost Ltd.
Fire Engineers: Arup Fire
Planning Supervision: Jppc Oxford
Forestry & Arboriculture Consultant: Sarah Venner
Access: David Bonnet
Landscape Design: Gross Max
CDM: Andrew Goddard Associates
Area: 1,127 sqm