When the University of Tulsa’s original campus master plan was created, officials chose to build everything around a Gothic library, now known as McFarlin Library. Almost 80 years later, the library remains the campus hub and is its tallest building.
In the architect’s 2002 master plan update, the McFarlin Library FEATURED IN2010 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation chosen as a priority project, as it lacked the space for today’s technology. The new Academic Technology Wing brings the facility into the 21st century, adding two electronic classrooms and two computing centers with 40 computers each.
New social highlights are a Starbucks cafe on the second floor and the new third-floor commons, featuring comfortable furniture and a refreshments bar with sink and microwave.
A major challenge in the renovation was designing an addition that would preserve the architectural integrity of the original structure. A skylight-enclosed atrium connects the two structures, bringing one face of the existing building’s exterior indoors and highlighting the Collegiate Gothic stone with skylights. The new atrium space also resituated the circulation desk to a more central location to vastly improve wayfinding.
The entire facility, including four quiet reading rooms and the dean’s administrative suite, was restored to its original grandeur. The team found creative solutions for the upgrades, including concealing the new sprinkler system in the reading rooms within large ceiling beams that appear as part of the original design.