Austrian studio Wolfgang Tschapeller has modernized the Cornell University library with spectacular hanging metal shelving
Cornell University is one of eight universities in the famous Ivy League, and its library of fine arts is famous throughout America. It has recently undergone a modernization by the Austrian bureau Wolfgang Tschapeller. The library is housed in a three-story 1911 Rand Hall building on Cornell's main campus in Ithaca, New York, adjacent to the OMA's College of Architecture.
As part of the library modernization, the architects Wolfgang Tschapeller eliminated one floor and equipped the resulting huge space (there is an open-plan reading room) with a massive suspended steel structure with bookshelves. From there you can not only get to the book depository, but also to seminar rooms and office premises. “The structure, which houses over 125,000 books, is one large floating volume attached to the roof beams,” says studio founder Wolfgang Tschapeller. – The absence of walls and blank partitions between different levels of the structure makes it “translucent”, allowing visitors to look through it and even see what is happening outside the window. “
The books occupy 17 horizontal platforms that extend over three floors, connected by stairs and walkways. Each array is supported by a horizontal beam connecting it to the wall, rectangular pillars attached to the ceiling, and a series of metal cables and supporting columns that lift the entire structure about half a meter off the ground.
The upgrade of the library was also included wood and metal, gift shop, research laboratory and storage for small equipment on the ground floor. “Thus, we now have two factories operating under one roof, – says the architect, – a factory for the production of material products (architecture school), and a factory for the production of thoughts and ideas (a library).”
Outside on the roof of the former industrial building, a platform was equipped where the works of students and teachers of the architectural school will be exhibited. A mirrored visor was installed along the perimeter of the building.