Oxford City Council has approved the application for planning permission by the University of Oxford to build the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site.
The unanimous decision means work on the building can now go ahead as planned. Enabling works will begin on the site shortly, and building work is expected to start in earnest in October this year. If all goes to plan, the Centre will open in 2025.
It is envisaged that the Centre will boost teaching and research in the humanities at Oxford University. It will also provide a new home for seven university faculties, the Institute for Ethics in AI, the Oxford Internet Institute and a new library.
Additionally, the Centre will house high-quality exhibition and performance spaces, including a 500-seat concert hall and a 250-seat theatre, allowing public audiences to engage more deeply with the University.
The Centre was made possible by a £150 million gift to the University in 2019 from Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of investment firm Blackstone.
Mr Schwarzman has now given an additional £25 million to the University, supporting the ambition to build a state-of-the-art and highly sustainable building which delivers outstanding academic and public-facing activity.
The building’s planned sustainability features include very high levels of insulation, steps to increase biodiversity such as bird boxes and wildlife-friendly planting, solar panels installed on the roof and an all-electric design that uses heat pumps rather than boilers to generate heat.