Old and new are linked with masterful care and discretion
MICA Architects for The Queen’s College, Oxford
Contract value: £10m
GIA: 2,687 m²
Cost per m²: £3,722
Beneath the lawn of the Provost’s garden of The Queen’s College, Oxford, is hidden a brand new college library. This invisibility is welcome given the grade I status of the existing 17th century English Baroque library to the west. The large subterranean library is daylight-filled thanks to an extremely large longitudinal rooflight which gives those within superb views of the listed facade from below. The extension and rooflight are successfully concealed and old and new are linked with masterful care and discretion.
This effect is achieved through a beautifully crafted lift and stair situated in one of the structural bays of the old library. These appear entirely natural in the historic setting due to the deft handling of their insertion. There is no hint of compromise to the restored listed buildings or to their setting and the few new elements which are visible feel right and good.
Regional Conservation Award