DUMBARTON OAKS & HARVARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY READING ROOM
Cunningham | Quill recently completed a new Library Reading Room in what originally served as the Cool House, which supported private estate gardening activities, designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1925, and which is now adjacent to the main Dumbarton Oaks Library Collections. The adaptive reuse project preserves the original characteristics of the green house such as large terrace glass windows with fan lights and a vaulted ceiling while taking steps to create a usable space for modern scholarship. In order to reduce the noise level in the room, the design team worked with a sound engineer to refit the space, using a combination of electronic sound masking systems and sound-absorbent ceiling materials. A power-assist and automatic door, as well as the layout of the carrels improves ADA access. In order to provide a more comfortable work environment and to help protect the new custom carrels and finishes, a clear, UV protection window film was installed in order to provide UV protection and reduce glare. All fixtures were outfitted with LED lighting including recessed lighting, cove lighting in the carrels, and the original chandeliers.
The new space provides sixteen custom white oak study carrels with integrated bookshelves and concealed storage. Millwork detailing mirrors the new Fellowship House interiors creating a link between the two spaces. The new carrels are exquisitely crafted with oil-rubbed bronze inlays and custom carrel numbers. The clean and elegant design creates a comfortable place for academics and researchers while also reflecting the legacy innovative design at Dumbarton Oaks.
Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography