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Steel-clad Oxford extension gets approval

16 November 2011 No Comment

A futuristic building planned for a Victorian conservation area in Oxford has finally been given the green light, three years after permission was sought, The Oxford Mail reports.

An extension to the Middle East Centre at St Anthony’s College – created by Zaha Hadid, one of the world’s most famous architects – will shortly go out to tender. Construction is planned to commence early next year.


Proposed curved exterior by Zaha Hadid

Proposals for the 1,200m extension were originally granted back in 2008, according to The Architects’ Journal. However the scheme had to go back to the council for further deliberation when it emerged that Hadid wanted to cover the curved exterior in steel cladding.

Middle East Centre extension

However, the city’s West Area Planning Committee has approved the revisions and wrote in a report:

“The council considers that the use of steel will deliver the design intent for the building while producing an intriguing visual experience.”

“Baroque modernism”

They described Hadid’s plans as “baroque modernism”. They also said though built in a historical area, “will not harm the character and appearance of the conservation area or setting of the listed buildings.”

The Middle East Centre extension will comprise a library, lecture room and archive storage space. It is said to resemble “the hull of an upturned ship”. Steel cladding was selected for its hard-wearing properties.

Personally I can’t wait to see it first hand in all it’s glory!

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