Magdalen College Library, Oxford

Magdalen College Library, Oxford

The Magdalen College Library project improves the existing services of the Grade II* listed library, bringing it into the 21st century.

The building, dating back to the 1850s, was originally used as school hall and previously reworked in the 1930's by Giles Gilbert Scott. Max Fordham worked extensively on the M&E and acoustic design.The building adopts more passive design strategies, maximising natural ventilation and daylighting, while minimising glare using interactive internal shades.

An energy efficient condensing boiler provides heating to the development using radiators integrated in the furniture. The existing chimneys at the Buckler Library were utilised as an exhaust air path from the basement book store while new automated vents were added into the refurbished roof, hidden from street view behind the parapets.

Despite its proximity to a busy road junction, the building is naturally ventilated. Extensive survey and noise mapping of the site was used to inform the best orientation for ventilation openings. 


Wright & Wright






Magdalen College

Dennis Gilbert Info
Raised roof vents allow both light into and air out from the middle of the new reading room
Dennis Gilbert Info
Fresh tempered air is brought up near occupants seating via a combined fresh air and trench heating grille
Dennis Gilbert Info
Bespoke acoustically attenuated vents were designed for the Buckler Library so that it can be naturally ventilated without excessive break-in of traffic noise
Dennis Gilbert Info
New acoustic laminate secondary glazing has been installed to existing windows to reduce noise break-in
Dennis Gilbert Info
Low level lighting provides the necessary lighting levels for a comforatble study environment, in an energy specific manner
Dennis Gilbert Info
The Longwall Library is sunk into the quad, shielding it from traffic noise by the existing boundary wall with new rooflights and vents improving thermal comfort