“New Bodleian Library by Giles Gilbert Scott,” published by JM Richards for The Architectural Review in 1940, is an original article covering the development of Gilbert Scott’s New Bodleian Library at the time.

The article takes an interesting angle on the build. It is part of a monthly series that reviews matters of external appearance.

The test of modern architecture

JM Richards opens his article with a discussion about integrity in design. He notes that “One of the severest tests modern architecture has to face comes when the site is a university city, or any place with a strong inherited architectural character.”

He states that as a mistaken gesture of respect, some architects don’t compromise their own designs to accommodate those of the city. He also notes how the Victorians took an opposite approach, one that consisted of careful copyism.

Gilbert Scott’s New Bodleian Library

JM Richard’s notes about external appearance in architecture pay off favourably for Gilbert Scott’s New Bodleian Library. JM notes that there are several things about the library he likes, although there are things he does not.

“First, the question of material. Sir Giles has quite rightly faced his building with stone,” notes JM, stating in a further extract that, “There are some things about the general massing of the building that I like. It has obviously been designed with care.” However, JM also goes on to say that he believes the library is overdesigned.

You can continue reading JM Richards’ fascinating article on The Architectural Review.