Today’s academic library is both a repository of inherited wisdom and a gateway to the information superhighway. The Christopher Center’s role is even more profound: with the Resurrection Chapel, the Center for the Arts, and the Harre Union, it forms the social, intellectual, and spiritual heart of the campus.
The library accommodates all studying styles in large reading areas with lots of activity; small, quieter spaces; a café; and informal reading rooms with meadow views. The building’s carefully modeled forms meld seamlessly into the prairie campus. Its monumental masonry screen-wall, a balanced counterpoint to the soaring chapel, modulates natural light, provides solar control, and reduces glare.
Following the campus tradition of low-rise masonry structures, the library was designed from the inside out so that interior spaces provide a selective panorama of the expansive, serene surroundings. An automated retrieval system—originally developed for industrial applications—provides high-density book storage and allows for future collection growth within a smaller building footprint.
The library embraces contemporary campus life, facilitating student study habits, while fulfilling the dean’s wish to lead the trend in promoting a new academic library typology. It contributes to the societal advancement of campus and community by combining the functions of library, classroom and student union into one facility. Library usage in the first year of operation went up 433% from the previous library and has remained steady since the opening.
AIA California Council
International Interior Design Association / American Library Association
AIA San Francisco
International Interior Design Association / Edwin F. Guth Memorial