A FURTHER £25 million has been gifted to the University of Oxford, in order to build a humanities centre complete with 500-seat concert hall.

Oxford City Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities earlier this week.

The building will be home to a 500-seat concert hall and 250-seat theatre – in addition to bringing together seven faculties, two institutes and several libraries – at the former Radcliffe Infirmary Hospital, which closed in 2007.

Read again: £150m university building to ‘bring world-class concert performers to city’

The centre has been made possible by an initial £150 million donation in 2019, to the university from Stephen Schwarzman – a friend of Donald Trump – who is reportedly worth more than £26 billion.

Mr Schwarzman, who is chief executive officer of Blackstone, a leading investment firm with $881 billion assets under management, gifted the additional £25 million.

He said: “I am pleased to support the university with this additional gift and look forward to seeing the impact the centre will have on Oxford students, faculty, community members and the world for years to come.

“Oxford has a unique opportunity to share and apply its leadership in the humanities to the most fundamental questions of the 21st century and I’m proud of the role the centre will play in this mission.” 

Oxford Mail: The concert hall. Picture: Hopkins Architects/University of OxfordThe concert hall. Picture: Hopkins Architects/University of Oxford

In a statement, the university said the latest gift will support it in its ‘ambition to build a state of the art and environmentally sustainable building which delivers outstanding academic and public facing activity’.

Now planning permission has been granted, the university is seeking to start construction later this year ahead of opening in 2025.

Professor Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Oxford City Council has approved our application to build the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.

“This building will be a fabulous addition both to the cultural life of the city and to the intellectual and social life of the university, now and for generations to come.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Mr Schwarzman for his exceptionally generous additional gift of £25 million which will enable us to realise the vision we presented to the council.” 

Oxford Mail: Drawings of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. Picture: Hopkins Architects/University of OxfordDrawings of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. Picture: Hopkins Architects/University of Oxford

Outlining the timeline for construction, the university revealed that enabling works will begin from next month, with construction set to begin in October.

Hoardings will be erected around the perimeter offering viewpoints for people to see what is happening.

The building is then set to open in 2025.

The application can be viewed on the city council’s planning portal, using the reference number 21/03057/FUL.

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