The Ohio State University for The William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library, with Gund Partnership; also Acock Associates Architects; Turner Construction Company; Smoot Construction; Heapy Engineering; Schooley Caldwell Associates; LAM Partners; Shelley Metz Baumann Hawk
photo by Brad Feinknopf
The landmark location of Ohio State University’s Thompson Library signifies its central role in campus life. Ad hoc additions and renovations over the years had obscured many distinct architectural features of this valuable historic resource. Restoring these spaces to their original grandeur were components of the design solution and important to decision-making.
Collections and services had grown significantly and were competing for space. Reader seats were pushed into undesirable areas, and the library lacked a unifying image and clear wayfinding system.
Goals were to create a campus hub and student social magnet; design an innovative, flexible building for evolving needs; provide a sense of unity; produce an architectural presence to fulfill the library’s mission, location and history.
Site constraints significantly limited expansion options, making compact massing strategies essential. The overall size of the complex was reduced from 320,000 gsf to 300,000 gsf. The net size remained constant and the usable area increased.
“Current students and alumni are thrilled with the renovated and new portions of the building and how the design components all work together . . . it embodies our vision to become a world-class library providing outstanding collections and services,” says Carol P. Diedrichs, director of university libraries.
The team achieved a spare but elegant aesthetic using obtainable, durable materials installed in a straightforward, uncomplicated manner controlling costs and maximizing flexibility and adaptability. The project was within 4% of the budget.
Seating spaces increased from 850 to 1,800 in many settings for different learning habits, desires and situations.
The jury said, “ . . . was a challenge to make building more friendly to campus, bold move, great investment, hard decisions, created a public commons social space to give back to community and make a home for the students . . . brought back a wonderful building . . . liked the intervention . . . a thoughtful execution . . . ”
Project Team: The Ohio State University with Gund Partnership; also Acock Associates Architects; Turner Construction Company; Smoot Construction; Heapy Engineering; Schooley Caldwell Associates; LAM Partners; Shelley Metz Baumann Hawk