Cornell University, College of Engineering, Carpenter Library

Ithaca, New York

  • FIRM

    HOLT Architects, PC


    Cornell University

  • AREA

    7,970 sq.ft.





Cornell University’s Carpenter Hall houses the library and administration offices for the College of Engineering. The original library space in this 1950s-era building was outdated and in need of renovation. The design sought to improve the functionality and aesthetics of the main reference and reading room, create a unified service desk combining circulation and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$75.00CITATIONBronze CitationFEATURED IN2005 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Renovation functions, and integrate the Cornell Information Technologies’ (CIT) computer laboratory and its 24 workstations from the basement of the building.

The design divides the space into three parts: a computer lab, free-form study areas and structured reading areas. A new service desk unifies the space and is the central, monumental figure in the library. Kidney bean-shaped tables and red tablet-arm lounge chairs create softened organic forms that flow through the casual study areas. The structured, technologically equipped group-study rooms allow natural light in with large borrowed lights mimicking existing exterior windows.

The computer laboratory is separated from the reading area by a continuous serpentine oak-enclosed surface and reference shelving with acoustical fabric-wrapped panels that buffer noise from the computers.

"Updated international style to today`s technology standards."--2005 jury