Yale University in New Haven, Conn., has reopened the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library after a 16-month renovation.
The university says in a news release that the project doubled the number of classrooms in the library from two to four. One of the new classrooms will function as a lab space in which students will be able to study the physical structures of books and experiment with inks, papermaking, and printing.
“It was exciting to walk through the front door again,” Beinecke Director Edwin “E.C.” Schroeder says. “It looks very much the same, but in many ways it is different. We have new classrooms and new exhibit preparation space. We’re excited to begin using these new spaces.”
The building’s architectural features — its exterior grid of granite and Vermont marble panels, six-story glass stack tower, and sculpture garden by sculptor Isamu Noguchi — have been refurbished to preserve architect Gordon Bunshaft’s modernist design, which opened in October 1963.
The library operated a temporary reading room and classroom in Sterling Memorial Library from May 2015 through July. The libraries’ access services staff would don hardhats and safety goggles to pass through construction zones on their way to retrieve collection material from protected areas in the building’s basement.
Most of the renovation consisted of upgrading the library’s mechanical infrastructure — its plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems. Systems in the building’s sub-basement, including room-sized air handlers and chillers, were replaced with modern equipment. The building’s security and fire-suppression systems also were upgraded. New lighting was installed in the stack tower.