War Memorial Library

Queens' College

Project War Memorial Library
Client Queens' College
Type Refurbishment
Date 1994

Any refurbishment of a 15th Century building will hold its challenges, and our work to create additional space for readers and books in a library, without affecting the structure of its medieval home, is no exception. Queens’ College’s Grade I listed War Memorial Library, housed in the College’s original chapel, now boasts three gallery levels thanks to the sensitive use of oak-clad steel pillars to provide the necessary structural support.

Careful design, planning and management were required for this project as the only access to the library, for contractors and materials, was through a 1 metre wide arched oak door. Deborah Singmaster, writing in the Architects’ Journal, used a particularly apt metaphor when she likened the project to “the time old trick of putting a ship in a bottle.”