rare books library

harvard graduate school of design : core ii
critic : jeffry burchard
spring 2016

Core II began with the precedent of the Yale Beinecke Library by Gordan Bunshaft. Assigned a site inside a park, across from the MFA, we were asked to place our precedent and allow program requirements as well as our stance on the status of rare books to begin to transform it.

The Beinecke is a floating, glowing, marble mass. In the same spirit, careful placement allows this rare books library to appear to hover only slightly above the ground upon approach, while giving the sense of floating significantly above the water once inside.

This placement is possible through the use of a mega structure that alone holds the entire library above the ground. It also provides for a meaningful entrance that brings users down, allowing them a thin view towards the lake before sending them up into the center of the library.

The marble center of the library has the programatic role of circulation at the lower levels and rare books storage at the top levels. The glow and beauty of the marble thus becomes accessible, never creatign a situation of "do not pass" but instead, including viewers in on the experience - where the focus is not on the accessibility of the books, but on their beauty.

While only a select few can access the rare books, the gload of the rare books forcefully becomes a part of everyone's experience whether users are moving from one space to another via the marble center, or searching for books in the publicly accessible stacks, adjacent to the marble mass.