The main entrance now engages with the primary campus circulation, creating a strong courtyard organization.
Existing building entrance
The additions wrap the existing building and create a new public reading areas and primary library service.
The east wing opens to vistas across the rolling New England setting. The main reading room is a grand public space for studying and social interaction.
Dimond Library, University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire
One of the central questions being asked by college and university administrators is how to deal with the vast stock of outmoded and failing 1960s-era buildings. When the firm was engaged by the University of New Hampshire to analyze its main library, built in 1957 and expanded in 1967, student visits were at an all-time low. The original library was designed with a traditional separation between the public areas, service and stacks. With its expansion 10 years later, large floor plates further eroded the definition between the public use areas and stacks. While the university’s Sputnik-era library provided 170,000 square feet of space, its organization was mainly for the storage of books. Adding to this dilemma was the drab character and quality of interior finishes. Low ceilings of acoustical tile panels and striped carpet, which covered floors and ran up interior walls and across public service desks, created a dark and complicated public circulation.

The simplicity of traditional New England forms and reuse of building structure characterizes the design solution. With a limited public university construction budget, the approach was to reuse the existing building for stacks, reference areas and staff, together with new construction that contains large public reading areas and primary library service. A 45,000-square-foot addition on the north and east edges of the building comprise the new reading rooms, while the existing structure was renovated and functionally reorganized. The existing building was set back from the center of the most significant campus quadrangle, creating a dark and forbidding entry sequence. Taking down the old entry portico and covering two sides of the existing building with taller new construction allowed the building forms to be reinserted into the main campus organization with a more civic-scaled presence. Two new wings that house the major public spaces of the library are brought out further into the primary central courtyard on campus to better engage the student pedestrian experience. The north wing fronts and completes the central courtyard of the campus. The east wing opens to vistas across the rolling New England setting. At night, the tall reading rooms behind the oversized windows are illuminated, casting light across the courtyard and campus, and inviting students within.

In the old sections of the building, all interior finishes were replaced and the location of interior partitions and finishes were replanned for better efficiency. Throughout the six levels, the 210,000-square-foot floor plate is organized for consistency as well as efficiency. The library visitor is oriented on each floor with reference to the three-story entrance lobby and can proceed to the reading rooms, stacks or the staff/service points without hesitation.




45,000 SF New Construction
165,000 SF Renovation


AIA/American Library Association, Excellence in Library Design
Boston Society of Architects, Honor Award for Design Excellence
Society of American Registered Architects, Award of Merit


Nick Wheeler
Bruce Martin