In the shadow of Yale’s historic Sterling Memorial Library, Bass Library accommodates a 50,000-volume intensive-use collection and a variety of study areas in a two-story, 72,000-square-foot underground structure. Connection to Sterling is via tunnel; at the top is a new reading room in a former basement below Sterling’s magnificent hall. A new skylighted FEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio staircase, designed to fit into the architecture of the older building, connects these spaces to the library above. Bass Library replaces the former Cross Campus Library, retaining the structural shell of a minimalist modern, ‘70s-era facility that was underused and lacked the updated systems required to meet the needs of the modern academic library.
Administrators wanted to strengthen the link between Sterling and Bass, thereby increasing student use of resources available at Sterling—a premier research library. The former facilities no longer accommodated new collection types and current use patterns. Increased use of digital media required technological upgrades. Evolving study patterns—group study and online collaboration—required flexible, innovative spaces.