Zaha Hadid’s Modernist Library Inspires Shock and Awe in Oxford

By Jay Merrick
The Independent, May 26, 2015

TheIndependent_Zaha_Hadid(Image: Zaha Hadid’s new Daliesque library and archive building at St Antony College, Oxford. Courtesy of The Independent)

In Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, any attempt to introduce shock-of-the-new architecture triggers dogfights between trads and mods. And so it was no surprise that when Zaha Hadid produced her sinuous steel-clad design for the new £11m library and archive building for the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, it was attacked. “Looks like a beached whale,” fumed one objector. “A giant ear trumpet,” said another. “No, a crashed airplane” – and so on.

Seen from Woodstock Road – calm, leafy, classic Inspector Morse territory – the steel form lolls like a glinting chrysalis between the centre’s two original 19th-century buildings. The centre’s south end, facing the college’s main buildings, flares out like a vast TV screen overlooking the garden. Read more…

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