Purchase College-State University of New York, Library Rehabilitation Project

Purchase, New York

Situated in the center of the campus plaza, the library, one of the buildings designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, has received a $6.9 million rehabilitation. The project included a major reworking of the library’s internal circulation, relocation of the building’s entrance, new accessible elevator and ramp, new information commons, new reading and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMWayman C. Wing Consulting Engineers PC; Luongo Associates, PA, Consulting Engineers & PlannersCOST PER SQ FT$148.00FEATURED IN2009 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation rooms, a high-density storage area and three new computer labs. The interior finishes and furniture also have been updated.

In an attempt to revitalize the library’s main entrance and presence on the plaza, the entrance has been relocated to the opposite side of the building. This shift, opposite the new student-services building, has generated a new center of campus activity for academic and social interaction on the plaza. The new entrance structure utilized a glass curtainwall system to create a transparent, light-filled entry space during the day, while enabling the light to radiate outward onto the plaza in the evening.

The new built-in circulation desk area helps welcome visitors to the library, and a new stainless steel and terrazzo staircase grants access to the main floor or the second floor’s new reading room. The reading room, once filled just with rows of high book stacks, has been transformed into an open study area, housing the library’s art collection and student works from the art school.

The movable furniture in the center of the reading room enables it to be reprogrammed for lectures, shows and social events. The space also takes advantage of its vaulted two-story ceiling, which enables natural light to spill through to the first floor and further into the building. The new "smart" computer labs, along with two new information commons, brings 21st-century technology into the library’s expanding range of services.

New finishes, including ceilings and lighting along with new and updated furniture, round out the rehabilitated library. A lighter color palette, working with the addition of more natural light, breathes life into what was once a dark and underutilized space. This transformation has created a warm, inviting destination on the campus and has enabled the library to shine once again.