in oxford, zaha hadid architects has completed a steel-clad library and archive for the middle east centre at st antony’s college. named the ‘investcorp building’, the bridge-like design overcomes strong physical constraints to form a suspended link among the campus’ existing structures. the middle east centre holds oxford university’s primary collection on the modern middle east – a world-class archive of private papers and historic photographs used by scholars and researchers with an interest in the region.

zaha hadid oxford university investcorp building middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
(above and main) image © luke hayes

 

 

 

fronted by a curved frameless glass façade, which sweeps above a sunken courtyard area, the new building provides 1,127 square meters of additional floor space alongside a 117-seat lecture theatre. in addition to doubling the space available for the middle east centre’s expanding library and archive, the work also provides optimum conditions to conserve and manage the centre’s collections that were previously stored elsewhere.

zaha hadid oxford university investcorp building middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
image © luke hayes

 

 

 

the building integrates new academic and research facilities within a design defined by the existing built and natural environment of the college,’ zaha hadid architects explained in a statement. ‘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.’

zaha hadid oxford university investcorp building middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
image © luke hayes

 

 

 

the subterranean 117-seat lecture theatre will allow the middle east centre to expand its popular program of seminars, lectures and debates – much of which is open to both the university and the general public. meanwhile, the need to expand the teaching space at the centre has become increasingly important with student numbers growing dramatically in recent years, including many additional masters’ students and doctoral candidates.

zaha hadid oxford university investcorp building middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
image © luke hayes

zaha hadid oxford university investcorp building middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
image © luke hayes

zaha hadid oxford university investcorp building middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
image © luke hayes

zaha hadid investcorp building oxford university middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
image © luke hayes

zaha hadid oxford university investcorp building middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
image © luke hayes

zaha hadid investcorp building oxford university middle east centre st antony’s college designboom
image © luke hayes

 

 

project info:

 

overall site area: 1,580 sqm
gross internal area: 1,127 sqm

 

general dimensions:
building footprint: 700 sqm
maximum external height: up to 13m

 

internal ceiling heights:
library reading room: up to 5.7m
archives: up to 4m
auditorium: up to 3.9m

 

program:
archives (paper and photographic)
auditorium (117 seats, with additional wheelchair spaces)
rolling stacks (2,200 sqm of linear storage)
library reading room (26 desks)
archive reading room (8 desks)
gallery (seating for 28)

 

client: middle east centre, st. antony’s college, university of oxford (director: eugene rogan)
architect: zaha hadid architects (ZHA)
design (ZHA): zaha hadid
project director (ZHA): jim heverin
project associates (ZHA): johannes hoffmann; ken bostock
project architect (ZHA): alex bilton
ZHA project team (ZHA): sara klomps; goswin rothenthal; andy summers; george king; luke bowler; barbara bochnak; yeena yoon; saleem a jalil; theodora ntatsopoulou; mireira sala font; amita kulkarni
structural engineer: AKTII
mechanical/electrical/acoustic engineer: max fordham
façade supplier: frener + reifer
façade consultants: arup façade engineering
contractor: BAM
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
visualization: cityscape