ENR SOUTHEAST: “Digital Tools Help Maintain Library’s Swift Pace”


By Scott Judy

North Carolina State University’s high-tech library project, intended to transform collaborative learning, is itself educating its builders on the positive power that information technology has on design and construction. The team creating the $95.2-million NCSU James B. Hunt Jr. Library project in Raleigh met challenges inside and out—from difficulties with the customized curtain wall to a mechanical system rarely used in the Southeast.

The library was designed in a modern style, reflecting its high-tech interiors, as well as the recent development of the school’s Centennial Campus.

Collaboration, coupled with a raft of information technology tools, has enabled the team to guide the project toward a happy ending. The 220,000-sq-ft, four-story library is on target for both schedule and budget, and set for a grand opening in January. And that is despite the bankruptcy earlier this year of Trainor Glass—the curtain wall contractor responsible for the building’s signature and nonregular element—and the need to correct a metal deck deflection problem.

The Hunt library is more like a house of technology than a house of books. With the library’s nearly 2 million volumes stowed away in the basement—where a volume can be delivered to a reader in minutes via an automated book-delivery system—more than 100 group study rooms take the place of shelves. Massive video walls, collectively made up of hundreds of 1-ft-sq cubes, abound throughout. Digital connection points are ubiquitous. Plugging in, not browsing, will be the norm.

In the Beginning

In September 2008, the university hired the New York office of architect Snøhetta, along with Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee of Raleigh as executive architect, to design the library for its still-evolving Centennial Campus… READ MORE…


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