Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Oxford

Ordering space, light and form

Worcester College is one of the many colleges that make up the University of Oxford, an icon of English education. The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, named after the son of the Sultan of Perak in Malaysia, an alumnus of Worcester College, was constructed in the extensive and idyllic gardens of the historic college.

The multi-award-winning complex includes a lecture hall, seminar rooms and a dance studio. The auditorium was designed in the style of an ancient Greek amphitheatre. Níall McLaughlin's architects designed the building as an elegant ensemble, flooded with daylight and featuring timeless charm. It seems as though it has always been part of the college, yet meets all the modern requirements of such a building.

The combination of traditional craftsmanship and state-of-the-art construction technology – using many natural materials – is boosted by lighting technology that highlights the architecture by night. The BEGA pendant luminaires used at the Centre fulfil three lighting design requirements at once: a high degree of illuminance, an unshielded component for vertical illuminance and light emitted upward towards the ceilings. The individual lighting functions of the pendant luminaires are DALI-controllable to create the desired lighting atmosphere.

BEGA pendant luminaire downlights, which produce downward-directed as well as unshielded light, illuminate the foyer and thereby provide lighting for the most important meeting places – all from a single source.

BEGA bollards are used in the outdoor areas. Their light is ideal for the illumination of pathways, entrance areas and driveways.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), a global member organisation dedicated to excellence in architecture, praised the Worcester College complex: “It is the architectural design – the timeless pursuit of ordering space and light and form – that makes it a thing of pure joy.”


Developer Worcester College of the University of Oxford (Great Britain)
Principal contractor Beard Construction, Oxford
Project management Bidwells, London
Architecture Níall McLaughlin Architects, London
Landscape architecture Simon Bagnall, Oxford
Electrical installation Haysham, Witney / Oxfordshire
Photography Nick Kane, Kingston / Surrey