L'Investcorp Building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, is the new home of the Middle East Centre of St Antony’s College. Founded in 1957, the centre is part of Oxford University and is concerned with the study of the Arab world from the 19th century to the present, with a special focus on the social sciences and the humanities.
The building designed by Zaha Hadid responds to the need to expand the amount of space available to the library and archives of the study centre and provides it with a new conferences hall and research spaces. The centre has a vast international archive including historic maps and photographs, and has been located in the former vicarage of the church of St Philip and St James since 1978.
The narrow lot available for the new construction and the presence of centuries-old trees determine the building’s shape and the curves in the western wall to accommodate a tall sequoia. The Investcorp Building with its stainless steel skin reflects daylight, establishing a link between the building and the trees present on the site while allowing each of them to be read as an element in its own right.
Design: Zaha Hadid Architects
Images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects photo: © Luke Hayes