Merton College, Upper Library,
Oxford

Historical

The library building dates from 1373 and is the oldest continuously functioning academic library in Europe.

dpa were commissioned to design a lighting scheme which increased the ambient lighting levels as well as illuminating the many decorative features throughout the library.

Lighting fixtures were not permitted to be fixed in any way to the building or joinery and this was instrumental to the decisions that were made during the design process.

Twin lamp high output linear fluorescent luminaires were placed on top of the 400 year old book presses, to uplight the oak panelled wagon roof. Small low voltage tungsten halogen source spotlights were fixed to the body of these luminaires and aimed at the decorative plasterwork and oak arches at either end of the ranges.

The lighting scheme was well received by the college and they now have a historic interior which looks as attractive at night as it does during the day.

Images and information courtesy of the Warden and Fellows of Merton College Oxford.