Library Refurbishment - Exeter College, Oxford

Project Year


Xylotek Role

Design-development, timber supply and installation.

Project Team

Architect: Nex. Main Contractor: Beard Construction. Engineers: Webb Yates

Photo Credits

Nex Architecture


In the heart of Oxford, Exeter College is home to a historic library building designed in the neo-Gothic style by renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, which dates back to 1857. This project is part of Exeter College’s plan to renew the space by making it fully accessible, restoring the original ceiling and revealing the full height of the ornate windows, increasing the number of reader spaces, and improving lighting, wiring and ventilation to make it an area suitable for 21st-century students.

Beard Construction and Nex Architecture contracted Xylotek to design-develop, supply and install the timber mezzanine, lift shaft, stairwell, walls and roof deck in the library. These aspects of the project combine a sensitivity to the existing historical structure whilst also making considered improvements to the study space and accessibility of the library. The timber Xylotek uses is Kerto LVL panels and Glulam for the walls, lift shaft, stairwell and mezzanine level, and this was a technical choice to ensure a sleek aesthetic, structural strength and easy lifting. The LVL and Glulam panels were detailed by our design department and fabricated in Germany through Zublin Timber.

Team Xylotek is installing the lift shaft and setting out the prefabricated panels for installing the mezzanine level. Due to the tight space accessing the site, the panels have been stacked in order of installation by necessity. The panels have been lifted into the building in this sequence, hooked to a steel beam to guide the panels through the narrow corridors and preserve the site as best we can. There will be minimal assembly on site required due to the tight access space around the building and the necessity to keep the site in top condition around the Grade II listed building.

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