University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, R.B. House Undergraduate Library

Chapel Hill , North Carolina

  • FIRM

    Perkins and Will


    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • AREA

    80,000 sq.ft.





The library is housed in a building that was constructed in 1972. The program called for gutting all three levels and reinserting two major functions: the undergraduate library functions and the Academy and Technology Services (ATN), both to serve the entire campus. Clarity of circulation and function, as well as materials security, became major goals. It was important ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY957COST PER SQ FT$102.00FEATURED IN2004 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation the university that the library be re-established as a campus center, and that it be welcoming from the exterior day and night.

The building is organized on three levels, with the main entry level for reserves and circulation, administration and references. Periodicals and new books flank the entry and are visible as traditional reading rooms. The second level has stacks and group-study rooms. The lower level houses non-print, computer training and the ATN department.

The design hinges on two key elements: the first is a pair of stairs that organize the circulation on all three levels; the second is a pair of enlarged skylight areas that drop natural light into all three levels. The main skylight is in two sections, the first of which covers an opening that passes through the upper level and lights the main confluence of the circulation and reserves. The second section lights the area around a combined main stair/elevator and allows light onto all three levels.