Architecture firm Snøhetta has unveiled their design for a new university library that looks so beautiful that students will likely find themselves visiting the building even outside study hours. Designed in collaboration with Stantec, the 225,000-square-foot library will serve as the new social and academic heart for Temple University’s campus in north Philadelphia. The sculptural building will be filled with natural light and “put Temple University at the forefront of progressive research institutions.”
Temple University’s new research library will cater to the campus’ 37,800 students and offer a variety of study spaces and amenities. Inspired by ancient Greek architecture, the library will primarily serve as a forum for exchanging ideas and social activity, rather than simply a repository for books and archives. To reduce the amount of space needed to store books, the library will use an automated book retrieval system that will store over 2 million volumes, thus opening up more floor space for collaborative learning areas.
As a new campus hub, the library will be located at the intersection of two major pedestrian walkways and overlook a future campus quad. The building will be set atop a solid base clad in vertical sections of rough stone to reference the campus’ existing materials. Grand wooden arches faced with pleated glass mark the entrances and open the library up to views and natural light. The arches extend into the building to create a three-story domed atrium and lobby with access to a cafe and 24/7 zone.
“An oculus carved into the lobby’s domed atrium opens up views to each corner of the building, serving as a wayfinding anchor and placing the user at the center of the library’s activity,” writes Snøhetta. “As users circulate the building, this visual and physical connectivity allows the individual to take stock of their bearings and encourages students to use all of the building’s resources.” In addition to the many gathering spaces, the library also comprises area for quieter study such as the reading room on the top floor that leads up to an accessible green roof.
Snøhetta’s library design received unanimous support from Philadelphia’s Civic Design Review last fall. The project will begin construction soon and is expected to be complete by fall 2018.
Images via Snøhetta