New Bodleian Library given green light for major restoration and renovation project
Oxford University’s Bodleian Libraries today announced that they had secured planning permission approval and Listed Building Consent from Oxford City Council for the £78 million restoration and renovation of the New Bodleian Library, to be reopened as the Weston Library in 2014/2015.
The long-awaited project, designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects (WEA), has three aims: to create high quality storage for the Libraries’ valuable special collections, which include the rare and unique manuscripts, books and maps that the Bodleian preserves for the international world of scholarship; to develop the Libraries’ space for the support of advanced research; and to expand public access to its great treasures through new exhibition galleries and other facilities.
Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian, said: “Securing planning permission is an important milestone in this exciting library project. The architects, our Broad Street neighbours, library staff, and countless others have all collaborated in this visionary scheme. We’ve worked to ensure that the redeveloped building would appeal to academics and scholars but also would contribute to the city as an inviting space to share the Bodleian’s treasures, in dedicated exhibition galleries, with the general public.”
The New Bodleian was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1930s. It was built, essentially, as a huge ‘book fortress’. Wilkinson Eyre Architects has planned the renovation with a mind to respect the buildings heritage while at the same time modernise its infrastructure, providing better facilities for students and researchers, as well as greater opportunities for collaboration with and outreach to the wider community. The renovation will commence in 2011 following the removal of over 3.5 million books and the Weston Library will reopen in 2015.