In July, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) revealed that the Bodleian's Weston Library was shortlisted for the 2016 Stirling Prize, one of the most iconic prizes in architecture. Ahead of the awards ceremony on 6 October, the BBC is running a public vote to determine the nation's favourite of the buildings shortlisted.
The online poll is open for one week only, from Friday 30 September to Wednesday 5 October, and the Bodleian Libraries is calling on members of the public to vote for the Weston Library.
The winner of the 'people's vote' will be announced at midday on Thursday 6 October. The BBC has also produced short films about the Weston Library and the other five buildings. Members of the public can view the films and place their vote at: www.bbc.co.uk/stirlingprize
Since opening to the public in 2015, the Library has proved hugely popular with readers, scholars, local residents and visitors from around the world. During a three-year renovation project, WilkinsonEyre architects transformed the 1930s Grade II listed building on Oxford's Broad Street, creating both a world-class research library and a new visitor space with exhibition galleries, a lecture theatre and a café and shop.
'We are delighted and honoured that the Weston Library has been shortlisted for the prestigious Stirling Prize,' said Richard Ovenden, Bodley's Librarian. 'WilkinsonEyre's innovative transformation of Gilbert Scott's Grade II listed building has created a stunning and incredibly popular space where visitors and scholars can explore the Bodleian's historic collections.
In the short time since it has been open, the Weston Library has received more than one million visitors and has become the fourth most popular visitor attraction in Oxfordshire, according to figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA). The Library hosts an extensive programme of free exhibitions and displays, lectures and events. This year, the exhibition Shakespeare's Dead and its related events were a cornerstone of the citywide Shakespeare Oxford 2016 Festival and crowds flocked to the Library in May 2016, when HRH the Duke of Cambridge formally opened the building.
The stunning new building has also earned much praise from the architecture and design community. So far the Weston Library has won the Architects' Journal 2016 Retrofit Award, a RIBA National Award, a RIBA South Regional Award, the RIBA South Building of the Year 2016, the Architects' Journal's 2016 Building of the Year Award and an Oxford Preservation Trust Award in 2015. The University of Oxford has also been shortlisted for the 2016 RIBA Client of the Year award as WilkinsonEyre's client during the redevelopment of the Weston Library. This award will be announced alongside the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016 at the ceremony on 6 October.
The Weston Library is one of only 6 buildings across the UK shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize but one of two within the University of Oxford - the Blavatnik School of Government was also shortlisted. The remaining four buildings shortlisted are: City of Glasgow College (Riverside Campus); Newport Street Gallery, Vauxhaull, London; Outhouse, Gloucestershire and Trafalgar Place, Elephant & Castle, London.