Contractor Try is in line to pick up the £35m contract to build the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.
Local sources claim the firm has beaten off bids from Costain and Mowlem to win the scheme, which will be built next to Magdalen College.

Enabling works have started on the 9000 m2 building, designed by Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil, an Egyptian architect who lives in Britain.

The project has a high-profile supporter in Prince Charles, a fellow of the centre who has backed the use of traditional building techniques.

The centre, which includes teaching rooms, a lecture theatre and a dining hall, is due for completion at the end of 2004.

It will include a dome and quadrangle and is described as a mixture of Oxford and Islamic styles.

The scheme will replace the centre’s base near Balliol College. It attracted some controversy two years ago when local opponents sought a judicial review of Oxford’s council’s decision to grant it planning permission. The campaigners claimed the building would be in a conservation area designated as open space for sports use.

The team working on the scheme also includes QS Ridge and Partners and executive architect Areen Design Services.