Architect to turn empty power station into global leadership centre
John McAslan & Partners has won an international competition to design a new leadership centre for the Said Business School in central Oxford.
The project will involve transforming a disused power station on the bank of the Isis for the Oxford University school.
Osney Power Station was the city’s first electrical power plant, open from 1892 to 1968. It was acquired by the university in 1969 and turned into a research laboratory for the Department of Engineering Science until 2010.
The McAslan proposal for the Global Leadership Centre retains much of the original fabric, developing areas for informal study, meetings and social interaction.
Hannah Lawson, partner at John McAslan & Partners, said: “We propose to harness the existing building’s distinctive characteristics, ensuring the powerful internal volume of the power station is retained as an open ‘agora’ – a vibrant collegiate quad at the heart of the facility for the interaction and exchange of ideas, while the residential amenities celebrate the exterior setting of the landscape, enhancing the external aspect and optimising views.”
Its location on the river will lead to the creation of an enclave which is both part of urban Oxford and tranquil, she said.
Peter Tufano, dean of the Saïd Business School, praised the proposals for showing “great vision”. He said: “The practice’s interpretation of the brief effectively combines the existing historic fabric and world-class contemporary design.”