Bass Library, Yale University

Interior Architecture Award Submission

Bass Library reconsiders the university library in an age of digital information, incorporating new program models and systems within the structural envelope of the former Cross Campus Library, located below one of Yale’s most ‘sacred’ spaces. It houses a 150,000 volume collection, lounges, individual and group study rooms, technology-rich classrooms and a café serving the Yale community. Bass and renovation of adjoining portions of the historic Sterling Library reconfigures their relationship within the larger context of a significant Collegiate Gothic ensemble.

Work included the complete reconstruction of the library, a redesigned stair and tunnel sequence connecting Bass to Sterling, a new communicating stair at Sterling’s central ‘nave’ and a furnishings program that included custom-designed lighting, furniture and decorative arts elements. Organized around a central spine, spaces with diverse character and function coexist within a cohesive ensemble. An open plan of masonry piers, filled with glazed screens or paneled partitions, affords separation with visual continuity. Prominent stairs and two-story glass-enclosed group study rooms provide spatial interaction between Bass’s two levels, and day-lit courtyards are surrounded by open study lounges. A transformative architectural vocabulary derived from Yale’s masonry walls and ornamental metalwork suggests a loft-like undercroft for the quadrangle above.

HBRA Architects Incorporatetd
Yale University
  • Claude R. Engle
  • CVM
  • CVM
  • Jaffe Holden Acoustics
  • Jaros Baum & Bolles
  • Milone & MacBroom
  • Morgan Wheelock Landscape Architecture
  • Rolf Jensen & Associates, Inc.
General contractor
Barr & Barr, Inc.
New Haven, CT