Built in 1940, the New Bodleian Library (now known as the Weston Library) designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was completed to provide the University of Oxford with expansion space for its main library. Following 70 years of service, the Grade II listed building at the heart of Oxford’s historic core required refurbishment to provide a modern facility for the university.
Wilkinson Eyre was asked to renovate the library with the brief of opening the interior of the building to allow more public access and engagement, creating a new cultural and intellectual landmark. With over 12 million items, it is the second largest library in Britain after The British Library. But the building was more a storage facility than an education centre and with the relocation of space-hungry book stacks to a new off-site facility, it became possible to offer a wider scope of facilities.
With the introduction of a large top-lit hall, the architect has created a multipurpose room which provides a grand entrance, a meeting area for students, a cafe and a flexible exhibition space. Shafts of natural light now fill the once dark central core of the building in addition to the many reading rooms, particularly the new spectacular reading room at roof level.
Throughout the refurbishment, Shadbolt supported the scheme through the manufacture and supply of bespoke FSC certified straight grain European oak veneered FD30, FD60 and FD120 doors and doorsets. All items featured a stain finish to match an approved control sample and Shadbolt managed the process meticulously.