Snohetta-designed James B. Hunt Library opens at North Carolina State University
When North Carolina State University was planning its new library they wanted a facility consistent with its brand - a place where new technologies rule and innovative thinking would lead to new discoveries.
It brought on the New York team of the Oslo-based practice Snohetta and what has emerged is a decidedly different library - one that combines traditional spaces and advanced technologies, like a robotic book delivery system, within a modern structure of fritted glass and aluminum, which, like a periscope, has one large window that looks out to a lake.
The building houses 149,226 sq ft on 5 levels and is conceived as both a social hub and ideas incubator. Large open rooms for study and gathering are linked by transparent staircases, off of which are smaller study spaces. Books are stored and delivered through a robotic system, called BookBot, that can store a two-million book collection in one ninth the space required by traditional means and retrieve a single volume in record time.
In addition to BookBot, the building incorporates a number of advanced technologies and innovative features like a gaming lab to support the college’s Digital Games Research Center, a creative studio and 3D printing facilities, and extensive digital media production facilities. State of the art videoconferencing and telepresence technologies facilitate collaboration around the world. The U.S. Navy has partnered with NC State on simulation facilities for training cadets.
Facing Lake Raleigh, the building is oriented to take advantage of the view and is linked to outdoor gathering spaces and seating areas. Completing the structure is a green roof and rain gardens that will cool the building and control rainwater runoff.