Photograph of the Radcliffe Observatory
Radcliffe Observatory
Photographer: Whitaker Studio

A new building for Humanities

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities will provide all of the staff and students of our faculties with facilities to support our outstanding research and teaching, to promote cross-disciplinary connections with the rest of the University, and to open out more widely than is currently possible to new audiences and visitors.

The Humanities Division and Bodleian Libraries have been planning a new home for a long time. The aim has been to bring together several faculties and libraries in one building, with well-designed, flexible, accessible spaces for learning, teaching and research, and for a modern library that would support the academic activity of the Humanities. We also want to greatly expand our outreach, knowledge exchange and public engagement activities. We have been concerned about the acute lack of space for our growing numbers of postgraduate students and postdocs.

We have spent several years discussing ideas, gathering requirements from staff and students, and working out what we need. Now, thanks to the generosity of Stephen A. Schwarzman and a significant contribution from the University of Oxford, we have secured enough funding to be able to complete this long-held ambition. The project is being shaped by a major consultation with staff and students, and two public consultations on the proposed designs and plans. We aim to complete the Centre in the academic year 2024-25.

The building will be located in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, facing the beautiful Radcliffe Observatory building. It will provide a physical home for seven of our faculties and six faculty libraries, as well as new teaching spaces, research space, and amenities for music, drama, film, broadcasting and widening access activities which will be available for the use of all Humanities faculties and the collegiate University.

At around 23,000 sq/m, the Centre will be a large building. The academic space available will be broadly similar to the space we currently occupy, only more fit for purpose and of far higher quality. The library space footprint will also be very similar to the current footprint. We will create an inviting, landscaped space around the building, open to all members of our university and city community.

We have appointed Hopkins Architects to design the building. More information about the architectural appointment is here, and the consultation boards from the second public consultation (which ran from 17th June to 8th July 2021) are here. The planning application was submitted to Oxford City Council in November 2021.

For more information, please see the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities website, or the links for University members below.

More information for University members (requires SSO log-in)