Union Theological Seminary, William Smith Morton Library

Richmond, Virginia

  • FIRM

    Glave Firm


    Union Theological Seminary

  • AREA

    68,000 sq.ft.





The William Smith Morton Library at Union Theological Seminary is created from the shell of Schaufler Hall, a 1930s church structure on the campus. Neo-Gothic architecture is the common theme that ties together the buildings on this small campus.

Challenges included fusing new and old into a unified whole, while acknowledging the dignity of the existing structure; ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY755COST PER SQ FT$145.71CITATIONSpecialized Facility CitationFEATURED IN1998 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized new and flexible telecommunications technologies in reading rooms and study spaces; and creating a new scholastic center.

One enters the library at the base of a new tower. Heavy, wood-paneled doors lead to an arched ceiling foyer where paneled niches display archival materials and donor portraits. Beyond the entry, one encounters diffused light filtered throughout the vaulted, latticed skylight ceiling of the four-story atrium. Balconies at either end connect the old and new sides of the library. At the southern end, a monumental stair cascades down, inviting one to explore to the collection. Shafts of light flood the atrium during the day through stained glass roundels. At night, custom 88-inch chandeliers shine upward, bouncing light off the louvered ceiling.

Photographer: ©Maxwell MacKenzie

"Quality environment; good use of materials."—1998 jury