Stunning Roof Restoration Wins OPT Building Conservation Award

Beard’s ‘stunning’ restoration of a Victorian glass-tiled roof at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History has won an Oxford Preservation Trust Award for Building Conservation.

The Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) awards recognise outstanding construction projects in Oxford and the teams behind them.

The famous Victorian neo-gothic building, which was designed as a cathedral to scientific study, holds Oxford University’s internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens. Beard carried out a 14-month roof restoration scheme on the Grade I-listed building which involved the careful removal, cleaning and resealing of 8,500 diamond-shaped glass panes before painstakingly putting them back into the museum’s vaulted roof.

The project was judged by a panel of experts from across Oxford and the Universities, chaired by Professor Malcolm Airs, Oxford Preservation Trust trustee and eminent architectural historian.

“I am thrilled that the University Museum of Natural History was successful at the OPT Awards. The panel was incredibly impressed by the restoration of the glass roof in particular. It is such a stunning building, well-used and well-loved throughout the city, and a well-deserved winner,” says Debbie Dance, Director of the Oxford Preservation Trust. “We were delighted to hold the launch of Oxford Open Doors at the museum in September and we received excellent feedback from guests about the building and the sensitive restoration by Beard and Purcell”.

This year, the panel awarded nine plaques and 12 certificates across categories of Building Conservation, New Buildings, Small Projects and Environment/Landscape.

“Our Oxford project team is delighted to have won this important award for building conservation. We really enjoyed working with the Oxford University Estates Services, the Museum of Natural History team, Purcell architects and our subcontractors on this magnificent and unique restoration project,” says Stephen French, Beard Site Manager for the project. “We hope the museum’s newly-restored roof will be admired and enjoyed by future generations of visitors for many years to come.”

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