Kevin Daly Architects

Kevin Daly Architects

Los Angeles, CA | New York, NY


Harvard College Library, Fine Arts Library, Digital Media and Slide Collection

In 2008, as Harvard University began preparing for the renovation of the Harvard Art Museum’s building at 32 Quincy Street (home of the Fogg Museum and Busch-Reisinger Museum), various museum and university resources had to be relocated to other areas of the campus. As part of this move the Fine Arts Library’s Digital Images and Slides Library had to be relocated. This library currently provides faculty, students and visitors access to the Fine Arts Library’s collection of slides, digital media and archival lantern slides. It was determined that the library would move to a space in the basement of the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, the third museum under the Harvard Art Museum umbrella, located across the street from the 32 Quincy site. The project was planned and completed in three phases to address the unique set of challenges the basement space posed.

The most significant design challenge was to create a serene learning zone in what was once a rough workshop. The ceiling is shaped by the systems above and curves at the building’s perimeter to bounce natural light into the Library’s public rooms. The perforated panels are composed of a standard panel that is cut and hung in a custom pattern with a traditional suspension system. The panel and suspension system’s off-the-shelf availability greatly reduced construction costs. All casework, including the media support/information desk, is custom designed with off-the-shelf Douglas Fir AC plywood paneling, which is typically used for structural sheathing.

Shelving units and desks are modular and were cut in a custom pattern to minimize material waste and reduce installation time. In the slide viewing area a custom LED light table was created in response to the staff’s requests and suggestions for a better table design. Eight individual pools of light with local controls are integrated into one long table, allowing a number of people to work at one time.

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Status: Built
Location: Cambridge, MA, US
Additional Credits: photos by Draft Horner