Green light for Oxford Uni building boom

Aaron Morby 14 years ago
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Oxford University is about to embark on the biggest building programme seen for more than a century.

The work boom is concentrated on the redevelopment of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, where two major schemes won planning approval last week.

Planners gave the all-clear for a new Humanities University building and library as well as a separate building for the Institution of Mathematics, together costing £200m.

These are the final pieces in the masterplan to provide a new seat of learning at the last major site in Oxford.

The humanities buildings (above) will be delivered in two phases, the first anticipated for completion in 2012. They will sit within the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter designed by Rafael Viñoly.

The university has still to secure full funding for the project, which is scheduled for completion by 2013. Mace, Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine are all believed  to be in the hunt for the scheme.

Meanwhile, Laing O’Rourke starts work next month on a £25m student block for Somerville College, the first job at the 10-acre former Radcliffe Infirmary site.

Other developments on the ROQ site to have already been granted planning permission include the refurbishment of the Grade II listed, 18th century Radcliffe Infirmary building and St Luke’s Chapel.

City planners also last week approved the £80m modernisation of the world famous Bodleian Library at a separate location in the city.

Work on the library is scheduled to begin next year and be completed within four years, when the building will reopen as the Weston Library.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) and Chair of the ROQ Board, Prof Anthony Monaco, said: “The University is delighted that planning permission has been granted for these two new buildings.

These projects form the core of our vision for this site, offering state-of-the-art facilities for research and teaching that will greatly benefit faculty and students.”

Video walk-through of new the Humanities University

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