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PROJECT / GLADSTONE LINK, BODLEIAN LIBRARY, OXFORD UNIVERSITY, UK


079


Simon Dove, Associate at Hoare Lea Lighting, describes the lighting scheme for a newly converted library space in a Grade 1 listed space.


BY THE BOOK


Located across several buildings, the Bodleian Libraries form the largest library system in the UK and the Grade 1 listed Old Bodleian Library and the Radcliffe Camera provide some of its most popular reading rooms. To respond to readers’ requests and the library’s administrative needs, the Underground Bookstore beneath Radcliffe Square has been converted into two floors of open-access library space containing the highest-use reading material. The Bookstore was built between 1909 and 1912 as an overflow book storage facility. Lead architect Purcell Miller Tritton designed the refurbishment and the fit-out of the space, which is now known as the Gladstone Link. The design included the main access to and from the Grade I listed main Library buildings. The Gladstone Link can house 240,000 books and offers study areas and facilities such as reader workstations and photocopiers. The project also included the formation of


a disabled access link into the base of the adjacent Grade 1 listed Radcliffe Camera building. The underground tunnel which links the Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian building (formerly used for book deliveries) has also been refurbished and is accessible to readers. While providing an attractive solution and fulfilling the requirements of a library environment, it was crucial that the heritage and constraints of the existing structure were respected. These included compressed ceiling heights, with a limited floor to structure height of approximately 2.1m, and a proliferation of beams. Hoare Lea Lighting’s scheme had to cater for the varied tasks undertaken. There are study areas that require relatively high illuminance levels in controlled spaces; bookcases where the task plane is vertical; and circulation spaces and navigation routes where soft, low level lighting is preferable. In addition the building had to cater for a dramatically increased occupancy, with improved building


Original Gladstone bookshelves hang on rollers from the beams of the roof frame and can be manually moved to access the books. A linear lighting approach was employed with a regular arrangement of bespoke Quad 100 low profile extrusions with asymmetric controllers from Optelma concealed within the beams.


performance and minimal carbon emissions throughout its life. The most fundamental challenge was to turn an old, dark and stuffy underground bookstore in the centre of a heritage zone in the heart of Oxford into a bright, vibrant and comfortable library. Lighting the bookcases posed a particular challenge. In the upper store, books are housed on original mobile Gladstone bookshelves (so called because they were suggested by WE Gladstone, Victorian Liberal Prime Minister and Oxford graduate). These hang on rollers from the beams or the roof frame and can be manually moved to allow access to the books. Suitable lighting had to be provided for these when used in a variety of configurations.


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