Oxford University secures planning permission for £150m Radcliffe Observatory project

Radcliffe Observatory Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre
Oxford University has secured planning permission for the construction of a £150 million new humanities building to include academic faculty space, concert, theatre and lecture halls at the Radcliffe Observatory quarter on Woodstock Road.

Construction will begin in October, and it is due to open in 2025.

Designs by Hopkins Architects, The Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities at the University of Oxford has come to be from the largest single donation the University has received in its history.

It will pull together seven faculties, two Institutes and six Bodleian libraries along with a world-class Concert Hall and three other performance venues, exhibition and film spaces in a unique academic and public building in the centre of the city.

Oxford Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson, said: “This is an investment in excellence, an investment in Oxford, an investment in the UK, an investment in the belief that understanding what it means to be human is as critical today as it ever was.”

For the first time in the University’s history, Oxford’s programmes in English, history, linguistics, philology & phonetics, medieval & modern languages, music, philosophy, and theology & religion will be housed together in a space designed to encourage experiential learning and bold experimentation through cross-disciplinary and collaborative study.

The Schwarzman Centre will also be home to Oxford’s new Institute for Ethics in AI which will build upon the University’s world-class capabilities in the humanities to lead the study of the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and other new computing technologies.

The building will include performing arts and exhibition venues designed to engage the Oxford community and the public at large. Modern amenities and digital capabilities will allow Oxford to share the full breadth of its unparalleled collections and research in the humanities. The Schwarzman Centre will serve as a dynamic hub dedicated to the humanities – those fields which inform our understanding and appreciation of the human experience.