Parks Library Architecture and History

View from central stairs with glass curtain wall and original buildingThe original library building, designed in the classic revivalist style by the firm of Proudfoot, Bird and Rawson, was built by Sugarman Construction Company and completed for occupancy in 1925. Prior to 1925, the library facilities had been housed in three different campus buildings. Collections which had been housed in Old Main since 1868 were moved to Morrill Hall when that building was completed in 1891. In 1914, the library was relocated to Central (now called Beardshear Hall) because it was deemed more fire-resistant than Morrill Hall.

Additions completed in 1961 and 1969 extended to the north and west of the original building. Both additions were designed by Brooks-Borg, the successor firm of the original architects. General contractor for the 1961 addition was the Howard Thomas Construction Company; the 1969 addition was built by The Weitz Company.

Designed by Charles Herbert and Associates and built by Story Construction, the third addition extends to the south of the existing library and blends the new and older portions of the building. A glass curtain wall affords visitors a panoramic view of campus and serves as a transition between the limestone facades of the orginal building and the third addition. The design also integrates the traditional architecture of the original building into the interior space of the library. Upon completion of the third addition in 1983, the existing building was remodeled to deal with issues related to building codes, energy consumption and climate control, and to develop a consistent interior architecture for the entire facility.