Wilkinson Eyre’s revamped Oxford Weston Library opens to the public

by Katie Buckley | 24 Mar 2015

Following an £80m (US$119m, €109m) renovation by international architecture firm, Wilkinson Eyre, the University of Oxford’s Weston Library has reopened to the public.

Originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1930s and part of the infamous grade II listed Bodleian Library in Oxford, UK, the structure needed some extreme modernisation and renovation to open it up to the public.

Wilkinson Eyre have incorporated several new features into the renovated Weston library such as new exhibition galleries and lecture theatres. New storage has been installed for special collections, making previously restricted items more accessible to the public.

New research facilities have been added as well as a digital media centre, a suite of seminar rooms, and conservation workshops. With regards to the archival storage, Wilkinson Eyre have revised the layout, taking out the original upper floors and the previous central stack of storage – this has been replaced with updated underground archive space and a dedicated reading suite.

For the first time ever, controlled sunlight is now allowed to enter the building through specially glazed slits, opening up the previously dark, isolated space.

In terms of renovation and restoration, care and attention was given to matching Scott’s initial designs and materials. 140 tonnes of salvaged stone was used, worked into the new facades and external stonework.

Tying in the emphasis on ‘old and new’ is a 15th century ‘gateway’ on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum. The feature – that once belonged to the Dorner family estate in Oxfordshire – has been meshed in with the design of the new Blackwell Hall, a publicly-accessible space in the centre of the library, featuring a cafe and information desk.

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Following an £80m (US$119m, €109m) renovation by international architecture firm, Wilkinson Eyre, the University of Oxford’s Weston Library has reopened to the public. Originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1930s and part of the infamous grade II listed Bodleian Library in Oxford, UK, the structure needed some extreme modernisation and renovation to open it up to the public. Wilkinson Eyre have incorporated several new features into the
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Wilkinson Eyre's renovated Weston Library opened to the public on Saturday 21 March / Ben Bisek for Wilkinson Eyre
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