Planning and Construction
(Click on the images to zoom and see additional content)
The planning for the River Campus in the 1920s included phased expansions to match an anticipated growth in the student enrollment from 1000 to 2500 to 4000 undergraduates.
The expansion included Rush Rhees Library, which in the eyes of the original architects would have been completed to form a symmetrical, unified design matching the Eastman Quadrangle facade.
The symmetry originally planned, and which the 1970 addition achieved for the most part, hides the very asymmetrical "back" of the library as it was completed in 1930. The original stack tower was fully exposed on two sides (those facing Meliora Hall and the Susan B. Anthony Residence Hall). A loading dock on the ground floor was located at the lower end of the ramp near what is now the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Center.
This 1931 pamphlet was created to help users and staff find their way around the new building. Today it helps us know how the building was originally used and what the future plans were (note the dotted line indicating the planned building footprint). Such information is a critical resource when planning building renovations.
The 1970 addition aligns closely with the 1930 plans to expand the library and matches the elevation heights of the original building. As part of the design of the Gleason Library, large windows on the facade were installed in 2007.
The 1970 building wraps around the 1930 building in a "U" shape. This image shows the side of the library that faces Douglass Commons. The new skybridge connection ties in at this location.
The paler bricks visible on the upper portion of the wall indicate where the 1964 small addition was made on the third floor. Many alumni would know that space as part of the Management Library; the area is now used for staff work space.
In April 1969, two staff from the Campus Times explored the unfinished building and reported what they learned and saw. The full issue is available here.
These floor plans (click on the image to see all the floors) show the reassignment of spaces. Note that at that time, the numbering of the floors changed for a short time: the ground floor became Level 1, the first floor became Level 2.