The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Oxford

The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre is a new building housing a large lecture theatre, a student learning space, seminar rooms and a dance studio. The project is not simply the provision of new facilities, but also the development and enhancement of the setting of this significant part of the College site. Whilst the relationship between the new buildings and the listed parkland is important, it is only one part of a complex arrangement.

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The building has been designed as a theatre in a garden. It is raised on a podium. A curved stone auditorium opens directly onto an oak-ceilinged foyer that extends out to pergolas and terraces overlooking the cricket pitch. The theatre is framed by a high stone screen that rises to allow clerestory light into the space. It is surmounted by a pleated ceiling sweeping down to the stage. It can operate either as a fully enclosed, darkened environment or as a bright day lit space surrounded by gardens on all sides. The dance studio stands at the end of a long serpentine lake that connects it back to the ancient heart of the College.

As you arrive through the gatehouse from Worcester Place, you are presented with a new open court that frames a view out over the lake to parkland. We use this square to connect MJP’s superb Sainsbury Building to our new proposal and to link them both to the surroundings courts and gardens.