Temple University’s new library designed by Snøhetta, in collaboration with Stantec, is now under construction after a groundbreaking ceremony in April. The 21,000 square meter (225,000 square foot) building is adjacent to what will become a future campus quadrangle that is currently occupied by other buildings slated for demolition. The library sits at the intersection of two major pedestrian pathways, Polett Walk and Liacouras Walk, attesting to the University’s hope that the facility will be a new social and academic heart for 37,800 students.
According to the architects, with a diversity of spaces and emphasis on collaborative and social learning, the library challenges the outdated inward-emphasis of research institutions. One of the cutting-edge technologies that will be employed in the library is an automated book retrieval system. The process will reduce the area required for 2 million-plus volumes and give that space back in the form of collaborative learning environments and other academic needs.
The library will house many partner programs and student resources that include a writing center, digital scholar’s studio, innovation lab, math and science resource center, immersive visualization studio, makerspace, graduate scholar’s studio, classrooms, reading rooms, group study rooms, a café, 24-7 zone, and offices for administration and staff. Described by Snøhetta as “porous,” the building will allow for visual connections across entry areas, offering easier access to resources.
The building’s roof will include a 4,300 square meter (46,000 square feet) green terrace with stepped seating and a garden of perennials and ornamental grasses. The building will also include a stormwater collection system for the plants, providing year-round water management.
The library’s fourth floor includes browsable stacks of 200,000 volumes and a main reading room with uninterrupted views in three directions. An oculus allows users to gaze down at the building’s atrium, adding a circuitous quality to the user experience. The third floor includes a reading room as well as flexible space and reservable study rooms. An event space on the building’s ground floor can seat about 120 people for lectures, conferences, and other gatherings. Canopies at building entrances are meant to provide shelter, social space, and the opportunity to host outdoor classes. The library’s automated retrieval system will be on the lowest level.
The building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.
Location1300-1346 W Norris St, Philadelphia, PA 19122, United States
PhotographsCourtesy of Snøhetta / Methanoia, Courtesy of MIR & Snøhetta