Connecticut College, Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room

New London, Connecticut

The notion of a library reading room was considered unnecessary for several decades, particularly during the 1970s when Connecticut College’s main library was built. The idea for this project, comprising just 3,200 square feet of space by the library entrance, emerged now that libraries are being viewed once again as places of collective social activity.

This ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$98.17FEATURED IN2002 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers room was given a distinctive dimension because of a parallel desire to showcase a significant collection of Chinese scrolls and other Asian artworks. The scrolls are illuminated in specially designed bronze cabinets, creating vertical

‘lanterns’ that punctuate the horizontal space established by the architecture of the original building. In addition to allowing each scroll to be viewed in its own space, this arrangement emphasizes the view to lawns and trees outside.

The room is intended to be distinctive within the larger building, while remaining strongly related to it. A reinterpretation in details and finishes is sympathetic to Asian sensibilities, providing an appropriate context for quiet contemplation.