Radcliffe Science Library redevelopment | University of Oxford
Radcliffe Science Library redevelopment
Radcliffe Science Library redevelopment

Radcliffe Science Library redevelopment

A shared home for study and research

The Radcliffe Science Library building is located on the corner of Parks Road and South Parks Road in the Oxford University Science Area, which is also within the city’s Central Conservation Area. In 2020-2021, it will undergo extensive refurbishment to modernise library facilities, create a home for Parks College, and establish a new Museum Collections Teaching and Research Centre.

About the project

Find out about what is happening in the Radcliffe Science Library

The RSL site is being redeveloped to create modern library facilities open to all Bodleian readers; fresh spaces for communal dining, collaboration, exhibitions and public events; and a museums collections centre to facilitate collections-based teaching, research and engagement, and which will also provide high-quality storage for the University collections. In addition, the new graduate society, known as Parks College, will be integrated into these refurbishment plans for the building, creating a new research and social community for graduate students and academic fellows of Parks College.

The building includes the Jackson Wing, built in 1901, and Worthington Wing, built in 1934, and a large basement beneath the Library’s courtyard and the front lawn of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The whole redevelopment of the site will also include the adjoining buildings (the western wing of the Inorganic Chemistry Lab and Abbot’s Kitchen) and their connecting spaces.

As part of the redevelopment project, the two-storey RSL basement will be converted into a Museums Collections Teaching & Research Centre, which will have high quality storage facilities for museum collections, as well as a suite of shared, flexible spaces for teaching and public engagement activities.

The aim in refurbishing the rest of the building is to improve the usability, comfort, quality and layout of the library, creating an accessible and modern space which provides group study facilities, informal discussion areas, and quiet study space, together with enhanced access to cutting-edge technology, digital resources and science specialist library staff. As much of the space as possible will be shared so that both Parks College and the science library may make optimal use of the building throughout the academic year.

Completion of the redevelopment of the RSL building and its adjoining buildings is provisionally scheduled for the start of the 2021-22 academic year. 

Latest Updates

11 February 2020 - notice of imminent works

We have published an FAQ about works taking place on 23 February 2020 to remove three trees along Parks Road, as necessary for the waterproofing works on the basement. Please download our FAQ for further information and full details.

January 2020

The project is currently seeking tenders from the University’s three framework building contractors under a Two-Stage Design & Build contract. One of these contractors will be appointed under a Pre-contract Services Agreement (PCSA) to further develop the design with the project team before the Main Contract is let. The maintenance ‘Early Works’ to the basement will be tendered separately.

The construction project follows the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) stages of work, which outlines all stages in the planning, design and building process, from conception to completion on site. The current timeline to completion is:

  • RIBA Stage 3 Developed Design, Sep 2019 – Jan 2020
  • RIBA Stage 4 Technical Design, Jan 2020 – May 2020
  • Vacant Possession, 14 April 2020
  • RIBA Stage 5 Maintenance Works, Mar – Dec 2020
  • RIBA Stage 5 Main Works, Sep 2020 – Sep 2021
  • Practical Completion, 27 Sep 2021
  • RIBA Stage 6 Handover and Close-Out, October 2021

Public information, consultation and feedback

Past events and consultations

4-5 October 2019 - A public consultation event was held in the Radcliffe Science Library to present the building project proposals, and invite comments and questions. 

21 June 2019 - A public information event about essential maintenance works required for the RSL basement was held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Questions or comments on the project can be emailed to: public.consultation@admin.ox.ac.uk

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