Temple U Geometric Library 4
Temple U Geometric Library 4

Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will open a state-of-the art, technology-rich, library in 2018, designed for social and academic interaction on campus and in the surrounding community.

Ground was recently broken on the new building, which is a joint venture of Oslo, Norway-based architectural firm Snohetta and the Philadelphia office of the North American architecture firm Stantec.

The design, part of a $1.2 billion capital improvement program at Temple University, received unanimous support from the city of Philadelphia’s Civic Design Review in fall 2015.

Cecil Baker of Philadelphia’s Civic Design Review Committee described the new library as “sophisticated poetry.”

A challenging project

According to Snohetta, the project was inspired by the historic academies of Greek antiquity, where social spaces for exchanging ideas and collaborative learning were primary and storage of books and archives had a secondary role.

With about 20,500 square meters of space, it will accommodate the university's 2.5 million volume collection, a considerable number of special collections, study and research space for about 38,000 students, staff areas, as well as a 24/7 space, an expanded lobby and a cafe.

The outstanding feature of the library will be an automated storage retrieval system (ASRS) for storing the majority of the volumes in the collection. The ASRS significantly reduces the amount of space needed as a repository for books, while widening the space for knowledge sharing and student resources.

The one-of-a-kind, sun-filled, four-story structure, which replaces the existing 1960s building, will combine stone, glass and timber in its construction.

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