Rotch Library, MIT

Rotch Library, MIT

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Cambridge, Massachusetts

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The Rotch Library, MIT’s library of architecture and planning, is located at MIT’s Building 7, next to the institution’s main entry on Massachusetts Avenue.  The site for the Rotch’s new stack wing is a courtyard, used by MIT for deliveries.  Preservation of the truck loading area meant that at the bottom the addition had to be raised to provide 14 feet of vehicular clearance.  At the top, the height could not exceed the base of the neighboring historic dome.  Given these constraints, the available floor-to-floor height for the stacks was limited to 8’-8”.  Spaces which required higher ceiling heights, notably the reading room and offices, are located within the renovated historic shell.  Both the challenge of the limited floor heights, and the requirement to keep the addition underside clear for trucks, was addressed by hanging the floors from above, on ribbons of steel concealed within the shelving.



Harleston Parker Medal, City of Boston and Boston Society of Architects
National Library Award, AIA/American Library Association
Honor Award, Boston Society of Architects
Merit Award, AIA New England Regional Council
Build Massachusetts Award, Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts 

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The Rotch is simply a gem of a building. Crisp and logical, yet expressive and poetic, it is the ideal metaphor for its contents. They have found a way to symbolize this building’s meaning through its architecture.
— Robert Campbell, The Boston Globe
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Structural Engineer: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc.
Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical Engineer: R.G. Vanderweil Engineers
Code: Eisenberg Associates
Testing: Thompson & Lichtner, Inc.  
Photographer: © Richard Mandelkorn
Photographer: © Chuck Choi