15 October 2009
Plans for the new Humanities and Mathematical library were revealed today by the University. The library will be part of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) which will house the Mathematical Institute and the Humanities Building. Located on a 10-acre site in central Oxford, the ROQ is one of the biggest development projects undertaken by the University for more than a century.
Plans for the Mathematical Institute, designed by Rafael Viñoly, and the Humanities Building and Library, designed by Bennetts Associates, have been revealed at a public exhibition, held at the Grade II Listed St Luke’s Chapel on the site today and tomorrow and planning permission will be applied for at the end of this month.
The new Humanities Building and Library, designed by Bennetts Associates, will form the centrepiece of the ROQ development, with the Observatory itself providing a clear focus and identity for the whole quarter. The plans feature a lantern rising above the underground library which allows views of the Radcliffe Observatory. The first phase brings together seven subject-based libraries which are currently scattered around the university, with another seven to be added later.
The Whitehead Library which serves the Mathematical Institute will balance researchers’ needs for privacy with the increasing importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. It will be the centre for the academic life of approximately 1000 undergraduates and a diverse community of college research fellows and lecturers.
Bringing six Humanities libraries together will create considerable synergy between them, with enhanced facilities and longer opening hours as well as the opportunity to provide a variety of study spaces to suit different needs.
The project will provide an integrated library facility for all the eventual occupants of the site, as well as teaching spaces for up to 1,500 students, all of which are linked to provide physical and intellectual connections.
Dr Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian and Director of Oxford University Library Services, said: 'The Humanities and Maths Library on the ROQ will be a wonderful opportunity to have a 21st-century library that fosters community and that is designed to accommodate modern technologies that will complement our rich print collections.'