Class of 1945 Library

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What makes a building great - is it form or is it function?

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Class of 1945 Library

  1. 1. Class of 1945 Library <ul><ul><li>Masterwork or Vernacular? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marilyn L. Bott </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>August 2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Rural Cultural Environment: Architecture and Landscape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ben Amsden </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plymouth State University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HS5560/HPR5200 </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ Twelve masterworks of modern American architecture will be commemorated on a stamp pane next year...The central reading room in the powerful library at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH, is circled by balconies containing the stacks...” </li></ul><ul><li>[bottom row, second from right] </li></ul>
  3. 3. “ In 1997, the Library was awarded the American Institute of Architects’ Twenty-five Year Award. The citation of the award states: <ul><li>‘ An outstanding collaboration of design and technology, this icon of cleanly articulated structure is a cultural center and modern architectural masterpiece for the original quadrangle of the renowned Academy. The massive block of dark-red brick reveals a surprising delicacy. It is artistically ahead of its time and will continue to enlighten as a spiritual touchstone of great design for generations of architects.’” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Architect Louis Kahn <ul><li>One of his favorite sayings was, “I asked the brick, ‘What do you like, brick?’ And brick said, ‘I like an arch.’” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Local brick <ul><li>“ Eno, the local company that made the brick, closed its doors to the public in 1965...The Academy bought up their supply, two million bricks of a roughly textured, waterstruck brick, and used it in the construction…” </li></ul>
  6. 6. “ The quality of concrete work will largely determine the quality of architecture… <ul><li>“ ...the concrete work was left untouched ‘once the forms had been stripped, showing the cavities left by the form ties, and the raised ridges that revealed where joints between the pieces of formwork had occurred.’” </li></ul>
  7. 7. “ All the concrete in the central hall plays a part in supporting the building; none is decorative... <ul><li>...the two large cross beams at the top of the central hall are of 165 tons of poured concrete.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. “ In addition to his use of these materials, Kahn is known for his use of natural light.” <ul><li>“ The new library at Exeter, like his other later works, is suffused with light... </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>“ ...which changes the character of its spaces depending on time of day, season, and weather.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Student study carrels around the outside walls are fitted with sliding wooden panels that are reminiscent of the protective Indian shutters of colonial New England homes. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ Once the new library was completed in 1971, the Academy faced the daunting task of relocating the contents of the Davis Library...” </li></ul>
  12. 12. Moving Day <ul><li>“ On November 16, 1971, classes were suspended for a day and students, faculty, and staff all helped move the books and populate the new library. At times, the students were delivering books faster than faculty and staff members could shelve them, but chaos was averted by the keen estimating abilities of several instructors in mathematics.” </li></ul>
  13. 13. “‘ The library is an intimidating place when you first walk into it; all that brick and concrete is rather scary,’ declares…a four-year day student…” <ul><li>“‘ There is always traffic on the main floor, which is a vibrant signal of the life of the library…and the kids like to sit there and study in the middle of everything. The symbolism radiates out from the middle.’” </li></ul>
  14. 14. “… today the library is an approachable, inclusive place filled with people and cultural exhibitions. <ul><li>“ There is no sense of ‘don’t touch.’ Instead,...the prevailing spirit is ‘Just ask; it’s here for you.’” </li></ul>
  15. 15. “ The library feels like a home... <ul><li>‘ They want the kids in there. It’s all about reaching out and serving the community.’ As a result,...a beautiful but potentially overwhelming building ‘is not at all off-putting. It’s welcoming.’” </li></ul>
  16. 16. “ A celebration of the 35th anniversary of the momentous move…occurred on November 16, 2006… <ul><li>… beginning with a talk by Carter Wiseman '63, one of this country's most respected architecture critics and historians, on the design of the Academy Library and Louis I. Kahn….Adding to the special occasion were the display of several rarely seen concept models and drawings illustrating the evolution of the design of the library...[Later] the audience moved upstairs to Rockefeller Hall, where they were greeted by thousands of brightly colored streamers that were released by the Library student proctors from the upper floors of the library down into the central hall. Strips of silver, gold, magenta, purple, and turquoise complemented the special cake, an 18-inch high replica of the library. </li></ul><ul><li>  Click here to see a short video of the festivities (32MB).” </li></ul>Rodney Armstrong and Jackie Thomas slicing the cake amid streamers.
  17. 17. So, what makes a building great… is it the form?
  18. 18. Or… is it the function?
  19. 19. Pilgrims come from around the world to visit the masterpiece… <ul><li>… and often, as visitors leave, they ask, “Do the students appreciate their good fortune in having this building at their school?” </li></ul>
  20. 20. Louis Kahn… <ul><li>… might easily have asked the visitors, “Do you appreciate the building’s good fortune in having these students to come and to go, to use it and to love it?” </li></ul>
  21. 21. Class of 1945 Library <ul><ul><li>Masterwork </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>or Vernacular? </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Sources <ul><li>http:// blackboard.exeter.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp </li></ul><ul><li>http://shop.usps.com/images/05_mmaa37_f.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.exeter.edu/libraries/4513_4522.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.exeter.edu/libraries/4513_4538.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.exeter.edu/libraries/4513_4539.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.exeter.edu/libraries/4513_4540.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.exeter.edu/news_and_events/news_events_4828.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>“ Postage Stamp” photograph from US Postal Service website </li></ul><ul><li>“ Moving Day” and “Cake Cutting” photographs from Phillips Exeter Academy website </li></ul><ul><li>All other photographs by Marilyn L. Bott </li></ul>

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