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Wilkinson Eyre bags planning for £78 million New Bodleian revamp

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Wilkinson Eyre has won planning permission for the overhaul and restoration of Oxford University’s Grade-II listed New Bodleian library building

Approved by Oxford City Council, the £78 million overhaul of the 1940 Giles Gilbert Scott-designed ‘book fortress’ involves the temporary re-housing of 3.5 million books and historic manuscripts.

Following the revamp, the building will be re-opened as the Weston Library in early 2015.

New Bodleian library Sarah Thomas 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.’

Construction work will start next year (2011).

Previous story (06.03.10)

Wilkinson Eyre to submit plans for £78 million New Bodleian overhaul

[FIRST LOOK + PLANS] Wilkinson Eyre is set to lodge plans for the revamp and restoration of Oxford University’s Grade-II listed New Bodleian library building

The long-awaited £78 million overhaul of the famous Giles Gilbert Scott-designed building (completed 1940) will involve the temporary re-housing of 3.5 million books and historic manuscripts.


Richard Ovenden, associate director and keeper of special collections, said: ‘The New Bodleian was…built, essentially, as a huge book fortress.

‘Wilkinson Eyre Architects has created a stunning design that respects the building’s heritage while at the same time modernising our infrastructure and providing better facilities for students and researchers, as well as greater opportunities for collaboration with and outreach to the wider community.’

Jim Eyre, director at Wilkinson Eyre Architects, said: ‘It is both a privilege and a challenge to be working within such an important historic context as this, and with such a unique collection of books and manuscripts. Our design aims to celebrate these precious objects by providing improved storage and preservation space, but also to increase public access and appreciation of this cultural and intellectual landmark.’

The plans have been unveiled at a public exhibition at the New Bodleian Library, Parks Road, Oxford.

Planning permission and listed Building Consent will be applied for at the end of this month (March).

The renovation and remodelling work will take five years and the building is due to reopen in 2015.

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