The project involved refurbishment works to three Grade I listed buildings: the Radcliffe Camera, the Old Bodleian Library and the Underground Bookstore beneath Radcliffe Square.
A new basement was needed below the Radcliffe Camera, designed by James Gibbs in 1749 and one of Oxford’s best-known buildings, to provide a new DDA lift and staircase which would allow direct access to the Below Ground Bookstore reading rooms and link to the Old Bodleian Library.
Archive drawings for the Camera were limited despite extensive investigation. Initial option studies were developed in detail and involved deepening the foundation to the Camera by underpinning. A trial pit investigation was eventually approved along with an Archaeological Watching Brief. The investigation found that the original foundations of the Camera were founded deeply at over 3m depth into the local gravels below. A scheme was developed with the Architect to adapt their proposals for the new stair and DDA lift to work around the existing deep foundations and to limit structural work to the historic fabric.