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MICA Architects wins planning for restoration of library at Oxford University

Library extension and restoration at Hertford College, Oxford University by MICA Architects

Oxford City Council has approved both Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission for MICA's design proposals to restore and extend Hertford College Library.

Situated at the heart of the historic college and at the centre of Oxford's ancient core, this project provides a rare opportunity to create modern, high quality library, study and meeting spaces, whilst also improving the historic fabric, access and energy use. This project has been a collaborative and exciting opportunity to work with Hertford College and a broad skilled project team.

The works will improve and extend the library and archive facilities by increasing reader space and book storage provision, creating new meeting and seminar rooms, together with improved student support. The important archive will, for the first time, be consolidated into one centralised location and includes improvements to environmental conditions and security.

The designs reveal more of the history of the College by uncovering concealed elements of the Old Chapel and the southern part of the West Range, including celebrating the external elevation of the West Range. Essential repair works will also be carried out along this facade where stonework is in need of repair. The new building is topped by a new roof terrace affording spectacular views of the adjoining All Souls College (by Nicholas Hawksmoor), the Bodleian Library and James Gibbs' Radcliffe Camera.

MICA joined our recent 'Cultural Cities' forum held at the Weston Library building in Oxford to talk about the work they have been carrying out at Jesus College, University of Oxford, linking the college to Cornmarket shopping street and creating an opening to the city with events spaces that the public can enter. 'Cultural Cities; the recovery' was opened by Lord Mendoza of the DCMS where it was discussed how universities have begun to realise the importance of outreach to their communities, especially in Oxford, which traditionally has presented a front of enclosed private university 'quads' and courtyards.

MICA Director Stuart Cade explained:

'The brief underlined the need for Jesus College to look outwards - to Cornmarket and the city. It's an extraordinary and very busy thoroughfare and it passes the back of the college. The site has the potential of connecting these two worlds. It's about making a back into a front, while making Market Street (which runs down the side of the college from Cornmarket) into a lively street again while reinforcing the presence of the Oxford Covered Market. The project combines education, with retail and other services for the city. We are opening up a medieval street.'


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