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 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.

Our plans for the building, which has been designed by Hopkins Architects, received planning permission from Oxford City Council in March 2022. Construction will begin in earnest in October 2022, with completion due in 2025. You can sign up to a newsletter following the construction by emailing [email protected]

For more information, please see the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities website.