Zaha Hadid’s Modernist Library Inspires Shock and Awe in Oxford
June 3, 2015
By Jay Merrick
The Independent, May 26, 2015
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…