Architect Rafael Viñoly has seen off an international shortlist to win a major masterplanning commission from Oxford University.
The Uruguayan’s firm has won a competition to masterplan the 10.5-acre city centre site currently occupied by the Radcliffe Infirmary.
The work will include devising an urban framework for a new campus of educational and research facilities to be built over the next 10 years, including an Institute of Mathematics.
The firm beat off expressions of interest from 60 architectural practices, but the final shortlist was whittled down to a choice between Viñoly, Dixon Jones, HOK International and Hopkins Architects.
Jim Chapman, director of international masterplanning firm EDAW, who advised the competition judges, said the panel had been “excited” by Viñoly’s scheme.
He said: “Quality of design and ability to work with the university were key criteria in the evaluation of the proposals and making the final selection.
“Rafael Viñoly’s approach excited the jury panel - the team responded well to the complex site and the evolving university brief.”
The firm’s victory came as fears grew that its flagship performing arts centre in Leicester could be dumped by the city council after costs doubled and delays grew to two years. Leicester city council, which commissioned the project and has already spent £5.5m on architects’ fees, survey work and site preparation, has said it will not go ahead with the centre if costs continue to spiral.
The centre was originally set to cost £26m and open in winter 2006. The projected cost has shot up to £44m and could rise again. If it is built, the centre may not open until 2008.
Last week the contractors presented projected costs to the client, although these costs have not been revealed. Leicester council is now negotiating to set a limit on the amount of money it is prepared to put into the centre.