Design utilizes progressive approach to print storageBy Julia Morse
Housed within the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library will be a state-of-the-art conservation and preservation facility, a special collection service area, a grand reading room and the capacity for 3.5 million volumes of print material, which will be contained in a high-density, automated shelving system.
The system, which requires one-seventh of the space of regular stacks, will serve materials for use in real time. When a request is made for material stored in the system, it will be retrieved within minutes by a crane—unlike off-site storage facilities, where it may take days to receive requested material.
With the University accruing approximately 150,000 new print volumes annually, Judth Nadler, Director of the Library, noted that Helmut Jahn’s design will be able to provide space for up to 22 years of new print materials.
Jahn, of the Chicago-based firm Murphy/Jahn, was selected in 2006 after a yearlong competitive process that began with 28 international architecture firms. His accomplishments include the design of the Park Avenue Tower in New York, the Hitachi Tower in Singapore, United Airlines Terminal 1 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the Hyatt Regency Roissy in Paris and the European Union Headquarters in Belgium.
On Thursday, May 8, the Board of Trustees approved Jahn’s designs, which will include an underground facility 50 feet deep, topped by an elliptical glass dome 35 feet high.
“In a place with this much history, real newness cannot just be physically new, but needs to be so spiritually,” Jahn said. “We believe that this can be achieved through an innovative attitude and ideas about advanced technology and sensibility toward energy and ecology. The result can be the library of the future.”
Joe Mansueto said of his and Rika’s reactions to the building, “We love the innovative design and progressive approach to storing the library’s collection. This has the potential to be an iconic building on campus.”