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Smith College Neilson Library

Northampton, MA
  • Photo credit: Maya Lin Studio © 2017.

The goal of this project is to renovate and expand Smith’s main library building. Despite the increased square footage, the overall building footprint will be reduced by about 25%, returning lost open green space to the adjacent grounds in deference to Frederick Law Olmsted’s original 1893 campus plan.

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This project will include the removal of 1962 and 1982 additions to get back to the historic 1909 masonry structure and make the central library feel more open and welcoming.

This project will include the removal of 1962 and 1982 additions to get back to the historic 1909 masonry structure and make the central library feel more open and welcoming.

The new addition consists of two new wings, known as “jewel boxes”, to the north and south of the original H-shaped library. The south wing will hold special collections, archives and rare books while the north wing will include spaces for active learning, a new cafe, and a digital media hub. The north wing will also feature an outdoor sunken courtyard that will allow daylight into the lower level of the library.

The Neilson Library project, which is being designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, is part of a larger Smith College campus library master plan.

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