MBI Al Jaber Foundation News & Press: 23/10/2009
Grand Opening of the MBI Al Jaber Building, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
On Friday October 23rd, the new MBI Al Jaber Building in Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford was officially opened by the Chancellor of the University, the Rt Hon. Lord Patten of Barnes. During the ceremony held in the new auditorium, an Honorary Fellowship was conferred on Foundation Chairman Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber. Guests, including academic Fellows and students of the College, enjoyed a recital by tenor and Corpus Honorary Fellow Ian Bostridge CBE with Marios Papadopoulos at the piano. The ceremony was preceded by a tea and a tour of the Building for invited guests and followed by a drinks reception and dinner hosted in the adjacent Raynolds Room.
The opening of the MBI Al Jaber Building marks the culmination of a project started in June of 2007, when the MBI Al Jaber Foundation announced its pledge of £1 million towards the project. The new Building has been built into the bastion of the ancient City wall, and preserving the original features of the bastion such as the arrow-slots and embrasures of the bastion, cuts an impressive sight on the campus amid the College’s ancient beautiful buildings and many picturesque gardens.
The MBI Al Jaber Building, which holds a 150-seat lecture theatre and two seminar rooms, will provide a state of the art venue for drama, musical performance and lectures. The auditorium has modular seating that can accommodate various smaller events and meetings. Large picture windows bring natural light into the auditorium and sliding glass screens to the foyer open to the first floor terrace in front of the Building which provides views of both the Cathedral and the colleges' gardens. The Handa Terrace, donated by Mr Haruhisa Handa, is the Building’s rooftop garden boasting beautiful views across Christ Church Meadow to the river.
The building has already received favourable reviews from architectural historians and Sir Tim Lankester, President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, England, noted that it was "the most important building on Corpus’s central site in the last 300 years."
In 2005, the Foundation previously made a grant to help the College with the architectural competition for the design of the building: /projects/corpus-christi---a-new-building-
Corpus Christi College was founded in 1517, with an aim to advance understanding and encourage new ways of thinking. Its small tight-knit community consists of 240 undergraduates and 115 graduate students and a staff of 40 academic Fellows, distinguished teachers and researchers in their fields. For more information on the College: http://www.ccc.ox.ac.uk
The Japanese-inspired roof garden at the School of Oriental and African Studies
was built during the Japan 2001 celebrations and was officially opened by the sponsor, Mr Haruhisa Handa (Toshu Fukami), an Honorary Fellow of the School, on 13 November 2001. It provides an area away from the noise and bustle of London streets, where visitors can relax and meditate.
The garden is dedicated to Forgiveness, which is the meaning of the Kanji character engraved on the garden’s granite water basin.
Peter Swift, a designer with experience of adapting Japanese garden design principles to the British environment and climate, conceived the garden as a place of quiet contemplation and meditation as well as a functional space complementary to the Gallery and its artistic activities.
A small stage can be used for dramatic or musical productions, for tea ceremonies or displays. Or it can be used simply as seating.
The Brunei Gallery was built in 1995 and has always had a roof garden. Unfortunately the original garden had pools that sprang a leak and the water had to be drained. As a result much of the original charm was lost and the garden fell into disuse. In 2000 Mr Handa offered to finance the creation of a Japanese-style garden and the designer Peter Swift from Planit EDC Ltd. was engaged to design and implement a suitable scheme.
The Handa Noh Studio
The attractive exterior of the Noh studio and the vastly extended Noh auditorium have been made possible by a generous donation from Haruhisa Handa - a Japanese patron of the Arts.
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