Thursday, September 27, 2012

Philips Exeter Library aka Library Porn

EX01
Part one of our trip back East was to visit the Mister's brother and his wife and their new home... well not so new, they have been there for four years so it was far beyond time to make the trip to Exeter, the city they call home.

Lucky for us it's also home to Louis Kahn's Phillip's Exeter Academy library. I love when architectural pilgrimages can be had while visiting family it's like an extra and unexpected gift.

The exterior is structural brick work (something us Californians are not so familiar with) and the interior which holds the heavier stacks is reinforced concrete. The entire structure is made of three materials: brick, concrete, and teak. 

EX02 EX03 EX04

Seriously... card catalogues forever! It's really such a shame that everything has to be viewed on a screen. I know, I know, so overly nostalgic I am.

EX05
I was totally geeking on this detail which is hard to tell from this photo but if you look up from the main floor at the floor plates within the cutout spheres you can see neatly embedded flourescent light fixtures.

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The tiniest most tasteful exit signs I have ever come across.

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The reading carrels or study areas are all located on the exterior brick shell allowing for the students to study in natural light. Although the light fixtures amongst the stacks were really so elegant and restrained.

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And finally the central Atrium in all it's ominous glory from as many angles as I thought necessary to show. I'm still not sure if that grand x above is structurally necessary wikipedia mentions that it's more to filter the light from the clerestory above. Anyone know if that's the true answer? Seems like an odd light filter to me.
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Hope you enjoyed the tour. Up next is Philip Johnson's glass house but I think that one will take me a bit more time to edit so it may be later next week before I have that up for you.

All photography Kelly Waters

4 comments:

silvia said...

so jealous. louis kahn is so good. i regret not seeing more of his work in the east coast while i was still in new york.

Simone said...

I can't really see how the X is being structurally necessary. Also the span becomes so much bigger when you do it diagonally. I don't even think you need it for stability.
I do think that if he had doen it otherwise there would have been an preferential/ dominant direction in the atrium and I think it is better this way.
Lucky you for being able to go to such a beautiful building.
Have a wonderful day!!!

Kelly said...

Thanks Simone! It just seemed like so much overkill for it to be structural... and yet an odd choice for light reflectance.

a m o u r e t t e said...

love this

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