The New Library and Academic Centre will transform the frontage of St Anne’s. Designed by Fletcher Priest Architects, it will give St Anne’s a distinctive identity at its most publicly visible point, and will reveal the handsome façade of Hartland House for the first time in half a century.

The New Library and Academic Centre will complete the redevelopment of the frontage of the College that started with the new kitchen, creating a defining image for St Anne’s on the Woodstock Road, one of the main routes into Oxford. 

The frontage of St Anne’s is currently dominated by the Gatehouse building, a 1960s accommodation block that is now tired and in need of refurbishment. The College lacks a clear entrance point, and cars and bicycles in front of the Gatehouse can obscure the modern Lodge in the Ruth Deech Building. It was never intended to be this way; Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who designed Hartland House, had intended the west face of Hartland House to be visible from the Woodstock Road, but his vision was supplanted by the need for additional student accommodation in the 1960s. 

We now have the opportunity to create a lasting and characterful frontage for St Anne’s, and to create a new Quadrangle at the front of the College. 

Materials and construction 

Inspired by Oxford’s historic buildings, the New Library and Academic Centre is designed to last for centuries. It will be built in local limestone, in common with Hartland House, the Dining Hall and the Ruth Deech Building, which all use this warm coloured stone.

The design is characterised by large floor to ceiling windows that will reveal the activity inside and will visually complement the distinctive windows of Hartland House, the Dining Hall and the Ruth Deech Building.

Windows will be timber-framed to a bespoke design, allowing users of the building to adjust ventilation and shade from the comfort of their desks. The roof structure is made from engineered timber with exposed beams and soffits. 

At the heart of the 21st Century University and open to the world

The interior space (c.1000 m2) is designed to be flexible, with open, airy spaces for group working and for quiet study.

The Lower Ground Floor will hold the Library’s rolling stacks as well as individual reader spaces looking out onto the sunken Quad.

The ground floor will be the principal entrance to the new Library with individual reader spaces, the Librarians’ administrative offices and an area for communal IT facilities.

The first floor will include a large seminar room used by the Student Outreach Centre to welcome potential students to St Anne’s, and will include several smaller reading rooms that can be used for quiet study or for group working, depending on the students’ needs.

There will be a relaxed foyer area where students can mingle and work in an open and not necessarily-silent environment. 

The top floor will provide working space for St Anne’s Research Centres in the arts and sciences, including The Centre for Personalised Medicine and Programme in Translation and Comparative Criticism, which are already underway.


Innovative construction methods will make the New Library and Academic Centre an environmentally sustainable and adaptable working space for future generations of students. 

Building materials have been carefully chosen for their minimal environmental impact and low embodied emissions. European timber from sustainably managed forests will be used for the roof structure and window frames, and cement substitutes will be used wherever possible for the structural frame.