The Joe & Rika Mansueto Library

Joe and Rika Mansueto, University of Chicago Library, Helmut JahnHelmut Jahn, University of Chicago Library, robot, collabcubedHelmut Jahn, University of Chicago Library, robot, collabcubedMansueto Library Diagram LayoutClick to enlarge

Just when you think books are on their way out, the University of Chicago builds a new library that can hold 3.5 million volumes and deliver your requested book within minutes. The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, named after the couple who donated $25 million to the university, was designed by architect Helmut Jahn and completed last May. Both the top and bottom of the library are quite spectacular. The domed, 700-glass-panel reading room measuring around 8,000 square feet, pops up from the lawn, while underground, extending 50 feet deep, is a hi-tech automated storage and retrieval system that uses five mechanized robotic cranes, in conjunction with bar codes on the books, to retrieve any title quickly from the 24,000 metal bins used to store the books in optimal preservation conditions.

It’s all very impressive and the structural volumes, from the 120 foot x 240 foot clear span dome on top to the nearly 1,000,000 cubic feet of subterranean storage space, are challenges that were successfully tackled and executed by Halvorson and Partners Structural Engineers.

Photos courtesy Murphy/Jahn Architects and the University of Chicago.

Thanks to tipster Elaine!

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