Exeter Library, Louis Kahn New Hampshire Building

Exeter Library, New Hampshire, USA, Louis Kahn, Building, Project, Design, Property, Date

Exeter Library Building

20th Century American Architecture: Major USA Building by Louis Kahn

page updated 29 Mar 2016

Phillips Exeter Academy Library

Location: Exeter, New Hampshire, USA
Date built: 1967-72
Design: Louis Kahn, architect

Exeter Library

Brief Review of the Exeter Library by architect Adrian Welch:

Phillips Exeter Academy Library exterior
photo by Rohmer at en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here. Original uploader was Rohmer at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2932569

This building has none of the landscape-integrating prairie horizontals of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses but instead hits you across well-maintained landscape as a massive squat pile of bricks.

Phillips Exeter Academy Library
photo by Daderot – Own work, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7016342

Phillips Exeter Academy Library building
photo by Daderot – Own work, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7016342

Inside the geometry of the circle dominates, reminiscent of the National Assembly building, Dacca. I found the contrast between the simple – and stark – modern geometries and the fancy baroque travertine stair curious.

Phillips Exeter Library Building
photo by Daderot – Own work, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7016342

The rough brick carrying into the interior – you brush against it moving up and down the stairs or squeezing past carrousels – has a harshness that I haven’t felt in Aalto’s houses where he used this device, to me the building has massive power, major ego but lacks the sheer class of the Salk Institute or the rational elegance of the Richards Medical Center.

Phillips Exeter Library carrels
photo by kathia shieh – Exeter Library [Louis Kahn], CC BY 2.0, http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11500653

Still, that’s my immediate not totally-informed reaction and I have many more Louis Kahn buildings to visit. Views welcome: info(at)e-architect.co.uk

Exeter Library architect : Louis Kahn

Phillips Exeter Academy Library

The Phillips Exeter Academy Library in Exeter, New Hampshire, U.S., with 160,000 volumes on nine levels and a shelf capacity of 250,000 volumes, is the largest secondary school library in the world. It is part of the Phillips Exeter Academy, an independent boarding school.

When it became clear in the 1950s that the library had outgrown its existing building, the school initially hired an architect who proposed a traditional design for the new building. Deciding instead to construct a library with a contemporary design, the school gave the commission to Louis Kahn in 1965. In 1997 the library received the Twenty-five Year Award from the American Institute of Architects, an award that recognizes architecture of enduring significance that is given to no more than one building per year.

Kahn structured the library in three concentric square rings. The outer ring, which is built of load-bearing brick, includes all four exterior walls and the library carrel spaces immediately inside them. The middle ring, which is built of reinforced concrete, holds the heavy book stacks. The inner ring is a dramatic atrium with enormous circular openings in its walls that reveal several floors of book stacks.
source: wikipedia

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American Architecture

Exeter Library context : New Hampshire

Boston Architecture
Boston Harbor Garage
image from architect

Massachusetts Buildings
Harvard University Graduate Housing
image © Timothy Hursley, The Arkansas Office

Hood Museum of Art Building Renovation, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
Date built: 1985
Original Building Design: Charles Moore Architect
Hood Museum of Art Building Renovation design
image courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Hood Museum of Art Building – 29 Mar 2016

Fine Arts Center, School, and Performing Arts Theater, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
Date built: 1959-73
Louis Kahn Campus in Fort Wayne
photo courtesy wikimedia commons
Louis Kahn’s Fine Arts Center, School, and Performing Arts Theater in Indiana – 8 Apr 2016

Museum of Fine Arts
Foster + Partners
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
image : Foster + Partners
Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Comments / photos for the Exeter Library Architecture page welcome

Exeter Library Building, New Hampshire, USA – page

Website: Phillips Exeter Academy Library