Kean University, Nancy Thompson Library

Union, New Jersey

  • FIRM

    KSS Architects LLP


    Kean University

  • AREA

    81,000 sq.ft.





Kean University wished to enhance the library’s position as the focal point of academic life on campus. Encompassing 20,000 square feet of additional space on three floors, the renovation and addition expanded and reorganized the existing library to encourage more frequent, skilled library use by students.

The addition, attached to a corner of the existing library, ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$62.00FEATURED IN1998 Architectural Portfolio a new, highly visible entrance closer to pedestrian walkways. The first floor exterior walls adjacent to the main circulation spine of the campus were designed with extensive glazing, allowing glimpses of the library within and encouraging passersby to enter. Special study areas include the Holocaust Resource Center, featuring a suspended curved wood ceiling, and a casual lounge located inside the main entrance.

The reference desk was renamed the information desk and placed directly in front of the main entry so that students could seek assistance immediately upon entering. The stacks were completely reorganized in a main-street fashion to ease book finding.

Brick and cast stone were used for the addition and continued the strong grid pattern of the original structure. Aligned cast-stone bands connect the addition to the original building.

Construction of the project was phased to keep the existing facility in continual operation during construction.

Photographer: ©Matt Wargo Photography