Planning permission has been granted for an extensive new Humanities Building at the University of Oxford in a scheme led by Thames Tap partner Carter Jonas.

The spectacular development, on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, was given unanimous support by Oxford City Council’s planning committee on March 8.

The development will provide academic faculty space, a 500-seat concert hall, a theatre, an experimental performance laboratory, a lecture hall, public engagement and outreach facilities and new public and landscaped open spaces. World class performers including musicians will be able to perform at the new space.

For the first time in the university’s history of almost 1,000 years, it will bring together seven Humanities faculties and their six libraries (to be combined into the new Bodleian Humanities Library), along with a high-profile new home for the Institute for Ethics in AI, the Oxford Internet Institute, the Bate Collection of musical instruments and a number of areas for performance and public engagement.

It will also provide a base for the Humanities Cultural Programme.

Stephanie Weeks, associate partner at Carter Jonas in Oxford, said: “This exciting project will change the shape of Oxford. It will benefit the world’s leading university by providing a wide range of new academic facilities. Importantly, much of the new development will also benefit both the people of Oxford and visitors to the university from across the globe. We were extremely pleased to be part of this significant contribution to culture and learning in Oxford.”

Prof William Whyte, professor of architectural history at the university, said:We are delighted that our proposal has been accepted by the city council. It is thanks to the hundreds of conversations with scores of people across the city over the last two years that we’ve been able to create such an inspirational design for a building which will be a pioneering example of sustainability in architecture.”

Work is due to start in late 2022 and to complete in 2025.

Images show the exterior (above) and the interior (below) of the new building.

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