THE UNIVERSITY has given the go-ahead to plans to build a new Middle East Centre at St Anthony’s College after positive feedback from local residents. The Centre, known as the Stonebridge Building, has been designed by Zaha Hadid, a Baghdad-born architect famous for her outlandish form-bending designs, and will provide new facilities, including a library and an enlarged lecture theatre. The centre’s planned redevelopment has previously been criticised as having the potential to cause social problems in the local residential area.Described as an “elongated tunnel” and resembling the upturned hull of a ship, the new structure will be situated between Victorian and Edwardian era houses on Woodstock Road in north Oxford.Dr Eugene Rogan, director of the Middle East Centre, said, “We knew that we would get a modern design as soon as we went to Zaha Hadid. Her designs sit comfortably between the two buildings. It is a 21st century structure that does not overpower or upstage the surrounding buildings.”Rogan added, “I am sure people who do not like modern architecture will find grounds for objecting to this. It is a question of taste.”On Friday, an anonymous blogger rebuked the plans on local website ‘thisisoxford.’They wrote, “So who exactly is going to stop the University doing exactly what they want to? The University can and will do anything in this City that it has a mind to.”Debbie Dance, director of Oxford Preservation Trust which was not invited to the consultation, said, “It is always good to see new and innovative designs coming forward, but whether this building is right in this place is the question to be answered. “This area of North Oxford has a recognisable character which is valued by many people, and we look forward to understanding how the architect and College feel that their proposals are to add to this in a positive way.”A University spokesperson claimed that the response from local residents had been positive.”Neighbourhood consultations were well attended and the plans were generally well received. Some of those who attended offered criticisms of the plans for the Softbridge building, but most of the comments fed back to the Middle East Centre have been favourable,” they said.Hadid’s other projects have included the Mind Zone at the Millennium Dome, the Rosenthal Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, and the BMW Central Building in Leipzig. She is also charged with building the 2012 Olympic Aquatics centre in East London.
Ole Solskjaer Solskjaer flew back from Barcelona on a private jet which landed at Manchester Airport just after 1am.The United boss eventually got to Carrington at 8am as he prepares to inform his side of what he made of Barcelona.The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, David de Gea arrived shortly after Solskjaer for training.It did take a while for Ernesto Valverde’s side to break down Atletico, who were down to 10 men for over an hour after Diego Costa was sent off.Suarez eventually got the breakthrough in the 85th minute before Messi doubled their advantage a minute later.The victory meant Barcelona moved 11 points clear at the top of La Liga with seven games to play.This is likely to give a sizeable advantage to the Spanish side going into the second leg knowing they could probably rest a number of key players against Huesca next weekend.United, on the other hand, face West Ham before the second leg and are still in the midst of an intense battle for the top four in the Premier League.Former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho is hoping to knock out his old enemy.Coutinho told the Sunday Mirror: ‘I know that games against Manchester United are special. I learned what they meant during my time at Liverpool when we lived it so intensely with the fans.‘I have that nailed in my memory and, even though this is a different stage, if Barcelona knock United out of Europe, it will be a double personal satisfaction for me.’Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Ahead of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match against Spanish Giants, FC Barcelona, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, made a swift return to his team’s Carrington training complex yesterday morning from Spain.The Red Devils manager was scouting his side’s Champions League opponents Barcelona on Saturday evening.United plays the Catalan giants in the quarter-finals of the competition and the sight of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi guiding their side to a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid would have likely given him cause for concern.