Page N1.3. 18 May 2011                     
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    AIA/ALA Library Awards 2011

    continued

    Renewal at Ohio State

    Before a recent major renovation and expansion project, the main library at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, had consisted of several poorly connected structures that served neither readers nor collections well. Constrained by the building's site — a prominent spot on the university's Oval green space — Gund Partnership improved and expanded user spaces while actually reducing the library's gross size.

    The original portion of William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library is a Beaux Arts building dating to 1913. A 1951 expansion later added a book tower to the west and smaller "saddlebag" additions to the east. In 1977, the library was extended further to the west. Functioning largely as a collection of separate buildings without a clear wayfinding system, the resulting facility was cluttered with windowless spaces, its collections crowded.

    As part of the recent project, the 1951 saddlebags and 1977 addition were demolished. The latter was replaced by a 91,000-square-foot (8,500-square-meter) new addition housing a glazed reading room and ground-level cafe, its curved west facade echoing the shape of the Oval.

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    The building's east and west entrances now lead to skylit atria flanking the book tower, whose masonry skin was removed and replaced with glass to reveal seven stories of books. These daylit spaces serve as a strong organizing element, orienting users to the spatial hierarchy. Technology is ubiquitous, and seating has been increased from 850 to 1,800 in a range of environments, including highly flexible areas lining each atrium. Staff and administrative areas line the north and south sides of the building.

    The 215,000-square-foot (20,000-square-meter) renovation included restoration of the historic reading room in the 1913 building, where a 1970s mezzanine level removed and the large windows were extended down to floor level to reveal activity inside the room to passersby.

    Sustainable features include new high-efficiency HVAC and lighting components, high-performance replacement glazing, a computerized system to shade curtain walls, recycled-content glass partitions, and reuse of limestone veneer removed from the 1977 addition.

    Acock Associates Architects served as architect of record.

    The jury praised the project's detailing and the architects' "[m]asterful management of a very large space."

    One sign that the project has succeeded: after the 2009 fall term began, about 12,000 students a day used the library — more than three times the daily gate count before the renovation.

    Minimalist in Phoenix

    Architecture firm richärd + bauer designed the new Harmon Library in Phoenix, Arizona. Built adjacent to the 1950 library building it replaced, the 12,500-square-foot (1,160-square-meter) branch of the Phoenix Public Library balances staffing constraints with the diverse functions of a robust community hub.

    In form, the building consists of a long, tall box that houses shared functions, flanked by smaller volumes that contain age-specific collections and equipment, and staff spaces. The open floor plan facilitates monitoring of all areas by a reduced library staff working from a central help desk. Through the building's several open courtyards, high vertical expanses of sawtooth glass at either end of the main room, and transparent and translucent glazing at ground level, the library maintains a connection with the outdoors and, specifically, with an adjacent park. The facility also includes a large public meeting room and multifunction kitchen/ cafe.

    Sheathed in perforated aluminum panels for acoustical control, the 25-foot- (7.6-meter-) tall primary volume might not exude the warmth of the main reading room at the Mattapan Branch Library in Boston. But the Phoenix architects did take several key steps to enliven the interior.

    A ceramic mosaic from the old branch building provided inspiration. The piece itself was reinstalled in a patio at the new facility. In addition, the mosaic's colorful design is reproduced in three large, translucent silkscreened panels that hang from ceiling trusses. To introduce more color into the space, the architects conceived of the linear central building volume as a kaleidoscope, incising colored slot windows and skylights into the envelope to create a dynamic pattern of light.

    "Notable is the real economy here: a limited number of brushstrokes, each one done so very effectively," remarked the jury.   >>>

     

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    ArchWeek Image
    SUBSCRIPTION SAMPLE

    A sympathetically detailed new addition to the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library at Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio, was designed by the Gund Partnership, with Acock Associates Architects as architect of record.
    Photo: Brad Feinknopf Extra Large Image

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    SUBSCRIPTION SAMPLE

    Much of the new Thompson Memorial Library addition is occupied by an extensively glazed, curved multistory reading room with commanding views of the OSU campus.
    Photo: Brad Feinknopf Extra Large Image

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    SUBSCRIPTION SAMPLE

    Thompson Memorial Library floor plan drawings.
    Image: Gund Partnership Extra Large Image

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    Along with the new 91,000-square-foot (8,500-square-meter) addition, the Gund Partnership also designed the renovation of 215,000 square feet (20,000 square meters) within existing library buildings. Pictured is one of two new multistory atria that flank the central book tower. The project also included demolition of some earlier building additions.
    Photo: Brad Feinknopf Extra Large Image

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    Thompson Memorial Library east-west section drawing looking north.
    Image: Gund Partnership Extra Large Image

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    The 12,500-square-foot (1,161-square-meter) Harmon Library is a replacement branch library building in Phoenix, Arizona, designed by richärd + bauer. The building's exterior finishes include perforated aluminum panels, polymer-wood decking, and concrete masonry units (CMU).
    Photo: Mark Boisclair Extra Large Image

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    SUBSCRIPTION SAMPLE

    Glazing at the Harmon Library is chiefly either clear or frosted glass. Small ribbons of glass, in one of several primary colors, provide bright accents in the upper walls and ceiling.
    Photo: Mark Boisclair Extra Large Image

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    Harmon Branch floor plan drawing.
    Image: richärd + bauer Extra Large Image

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    Inside the minimalist Harmon Library, neutral gray aluminum panels finish the upper walls and ceiling, while the human-accessible lower areas are more generously detailed.
    Photo: Mark Boisclair Extra Large Image

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    Harmon Branch longitudinal-section and cross-section drawings.
    Image: richärd + bauer Extra Large Image

     

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