Named 'the world’s best higher education and research building' | University of Oxford
The Investcorp Building, Middle East Centre, at St Antony's College.
The Investcorp Building, Middle East Centre, at St Antony's College.

The Investcorp Building, Middle East Centre, at St Antony's College.

Named 'the world’s best higher education and research building'

The University’s Investcorp Building has scooped another prestigious architectural award. It has been named the best higher education and research building in the world by the jury at the 2016 World Architecture Festival in Berlin.

The building was created by Zaha Hadid and commissioned by St Antony’s College to provide space for its Middle East Centre. Opening in May 2015, it spans two Victorian buildings on Woodstock Road in the grounds of the college and is named after the alternative investment firm that donated £11 million for the project.

This latest honour for the building follows its Oxford Preservation Trust and RIBA awards.

Dr Eugene Rogan, Director of the Middle East Centre, said: 'We are so thrilled to see our exquisite new building win the recognition of the World Architecture Festival.  And how appropriate for the late Dame Zaha Hadid to have given Oxford the best higher education and research building in the world in 2016.  The Investcorp Building stands as a lasting tribute to her work in a city with some of the finest academic architecture from across the centuries.'

Zaha Hadid expressed an architecture and form that allows the interior of the spaces to enjoy the view of the urban setting while cladding the building in a material that say ‘I am the future’.

Judges at the 2016 World Architecture Festival

The shimmering, sinuous building houses the centre’s renowned archive, library and seminar rooms, with an exterior that is bold but reflects its surroundings. The judges said: ’Zaha Hadid expressed an architecture and form that allows the interior of the spaces to enjoy the view of the urban setting while cladding the building in a material that say ‘I am the future’.

Founded in 1957, the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College serves as the University of Oxford's facility for research and teaching on the Arab world, Iran, Israel and Turkey from the 19th century to the present day.  The centre has been housed at 68 Woodstock Road (the former rectory of the Church of St Philip and St James, built in 1887) since 1978.