Designed by award-winning architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects, it's St Antony College's new Middle East Centre, which was previously housed in a decidedly less glamorous former rectory down the road. The sleek tunnel encompasses a lecture theatre, library, gallery space and archive across four levels, making a strikingly modern statement in the UK's oldest university.
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The reflective stainless steel surfaces allow the tunnel to blend with its surroundings, reflecting the landscape and the adjacent Victorian-era convent and library. "Its design weaves through the restricted site at St Antony's College to connect and incorporate the existing protected buildings and trees, while its stainless-steel facade softly reflects natural light to echo the building's context," says a statement released by Zaha Hadid Architects. The tunnel winds around a century-old Sequoia tree on the St Antony's College campus, carefully avoiding its root structure.
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Guaranteed to attract day-trippers already keen to explore the ancient university's grounds, the steel construction has got to be one of the most design-driven educational facilities yet.
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