BAM Construct UK has secured a contract to build a futuristic addition to the University of Oxford’s Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College.
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the new £11m, three-storey building, dubbed Softbridge, will form a suspended ‘bridge’ between numbers 66 and 68 Woodstock Road.
The building will feature a library, reading room, an auditorium with translation facilities, a cafe and specialist archive storage rooms for college resources.
The 1,200m² facility will also feature a new 125-seat lecture theatre with disabled access to replace the cramped rooms in which public seminars are currently held.
Upon completion, the building will be known as ‘The Investcorp Building’ as the global alternative asset management company, Investcorp, has provided a £11m donation for construction of the facility.
BAM said that the use of glass curtain walling and steel cladding will make the building a landmark within the university campus and the city, while FSC-approved timber will be used for sustainability.
BAM construction manager Anthony Nagle said that the project will provide first-class learning facilities for the Middle East Centre at Oxford University.
"We will ensure the scheme also benefits the local economy and environment," Nagle said.
After completion, the Middle East Centre Library and the archive will move into purpose-built facilities, providing resources to conserve and manage the collections, which will in turn make space available in the existing buildings for 14 academic offices as well as a seminar room.
Construction of the building is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014.
Previously, BAM and Zaha Hadid worked on the Riverside Transport Museum in Glasgow, Scotland.
Image: After completion, the Softbridge building will feature a library, reading room, and an auditorium with translation facilities. Photo courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.