Laing O’Rourke wins £170m Oxford University contract

By Leila Steed05 January 2022

 Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities design image The new Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities is scheduled for completion in 2025.

Laing O’Rourke has been contracted to build a new £170 million education facility for the University of Oxford in the UK.

Laing O’Rourke will build the new Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities at the university’s main campus in Oxford.

Designed by Hopkins Architects, the building will house seven of the university’s faculties and two of its institutes in a single location.

In addition to providing flexible space for learning, research and experimentation, the new centre will also accommodate the collections of six Bodleian libraries and include a 500-seat concert hall, a 250-seat theatre and a film screening area.

“The new building will form the centrepiece of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ), and will be surrounded by inviting landscaped space, connecting the wider community throughout,” said Laing O’Rourke.

Said to be one of the largest single building projects ever undertaken by the university, construction of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre is expected to start in the Autumn of 2022.

Laing O’Rourke’s project team will be led by Buildings Operations Leader Steve Holland, who previously oversaw the delivery of the university’s Oxford Biochemistry Completion project.

Holland said, “We are privileged to be appointed to complete the heart of the ROQ in Oxford, a project of such purpose, for all that it is to be human.

“The building will be delivered to Passivhaus energy performance standards, utilising our blend of offsite manufacturing capability and direct delivery to enable the certainty required.”

Holland added, “Our plan ensures teaching and learning continues, soft lands construction delivery with neighbouring buildings and maintains public access and engagement throughout.”

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre - the 12th project the contractor has been involved with - is currently scheduled to be completed in the Spring of 2025 and open to students in the Autumn.

Jennifer Makkreel, Project Director at the University of Oxford, said, “Laing O’Rourke demonstrated that they shared the University’s vision for the exciting possibilities of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities and we are looking forward to working with them.

“They have nearly two decades of experience of collaborative project delivery of complex University buildings, including on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site.”

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