designLAB architects is undertaking the $32M renovation & addition of the visionary 1970′s era library at UMass Dartmouth, designed by Paul Rudolph. Northeastern University School of Architecture Advisory Council member Robert Miklos, FAIA leads this project with School of Architecture alumnus Ben Youtz as the project Manager. The project involves a complete re-purposing of the existing building as a center for social interaction and collaborative learning, as well as a place for experimentation with new media.
The adaptation of Paul Rudolph’s utopian experiment has been one of restoration, interpretation, and transformation. The design team looked to Rudolph’s previous work to understand the building’s monumental vision, capturing and maintaining the original spirit through new technologies and programs.
Solid corrugated concrete sculptural forms are stripped back to reveal Rudolph’s frame composition, creating a new transparency reminiscent of his early work at the Sarasota School. The campus’s many lounge pits inspired the insertion of new “happenings” throughout the open plan, offering opportunities for social engagement.
Rudolph’s use of op-art super graphics and interior materiality have also been reintroduced into the re-planned floors. Natural light and the original color palette re-invigorate the interior, providing a vibrant compliment to the sometimes-overpowering exposed concrete. The Addition’s new enclosure is wrapped in a veil of stainless steel mesh sunshades, reminiscent of the buildings original interior mesh curtains. Old and new are showcased through the simplicity of the vertical mesh façade, which acts as new threshold into the signature building.
With the first phase of the project complete, the students are provided a peek into their new library to come. The highly anticipated completion of the Claire T. Carney Library Addition & Renovation is scheduled for the fall of 2012.