Our building

Designed to support the School’s mission of inspiring and promoting better government around the world, the building was developed by internationally renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron. After becoming operational at the end of 2015, the building was officially opened by HRH the Duke of Cambridge in May 2016.

“The interior looks like an unspooled film, recalling the spiralling ramps of New York’s Guggenheim but with a pleasing irregularity and offset circular skylights. Arranged around a circular atrium, it’s a little dizzying, airy and enjoyable” – Financial Times

“It’s about democracy, so it’s circular, political transparency, so it’s glass, and Oxford, so there’s stone” – RIBA Journal

“Dazzling addition to Oxford’s iconic architecture” – The Oxford Mail

“Clearly the concept of government and the school’s role in articulating this was a key part of the design” – Building Design

“Stepping back from the street, its proportions rhyme with its neighbours, the wafer-thin concrete slabs hover between delicate glass leaves, while its spiralling interior is one of the most uplifting spaces built in Oxford in a century” – The Guardian

“Inside, the building is quite simply breathtaking. It is one of those rare moments in architecture when the spirit soars. This is a modern cathedral of learning that at the same time stimulates, soothes and excites. […] It is a truly inspirational piece of design and one so fitting for its purpose” – RIBA Judges


  • Shortlisted for the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize
  • RIBA National Award 2016
  • RIBA South Client of the Year 2016
  • RIBA South Award 2016
  • BREEAM Excellent; with A Rated Energy Performance
  • Best Use of Civil Engineering in a Building Project in South East England by Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  • Oxford Preservation Trust Award 2016 (New Building category)
  • Award for Education or Healthcare Structures - Structural Awards 2016 

Facts & figures

  • Construction started in September 2013; completed in November 2015
  • Capacity to host up to up to 550 students, faculty, staff and guests
  • The “Window to the world” above the entrance is the largest double glazed single pane of glass in Europe (10.5m x 3.2m)
  • Access to natural light and air everywhere in the building
  • Exceeds building regulation guidelines for accessibility: 12 wheelchair users can be accommodated in the building at any one time
  • Expected to consume 49% less energy in comparison to existing UK buildings of the same size and use (more info on sustainability)
  • 107 photovoltaic panels
  • 500m2 green roof