William Oxley Thompson Library
The Ohio State University
2009 James B Recchie Design Award
2009 AIA Merit Award - Special Citation for Excellence in Architecture Renovation / Adaptive Reuse
2011 ACEC - Outstanding Achievement Award
2011 AIA/ALA Library Building Award
A very unique project for The Ohio State University, the existing building is comprised of the original structure built in 1913 and an 11-story addition, known as the stacks tower, which was built in 1952. Further, a three-story addition was completed in the mid-1970s, which was demolished to make room for the new four-story addition.
Early in the design process, a seismic analysis of the additions was conducted and it showed a deficiency in the 1950s addition that resulted in the need for seismic retrofit. Further, major bearing walls in the original building were removed while maintaining some of the existing framing that was supported by these walls, resulting in the need for new framing that could support the existing framing. Built over an existing utility tunnel that had to remain in place, some of the existing foundations were reused to avoid damaging the tunnel.
To achieve the architect’s vision for the project, SMBH had to develop several creative engineering strategies. For example, large portions of bearing walls were removed in the original building to allow for a four-story atrium, which required creative framing solutions to maintain the existing floors and roof while the supporting walls are removed. Steel plate shear walls were used in the stacks tower so that the book stack capacity was not reduced by the presence of new bracing. Understanding the existing structure was crucial to the success of this project. One of the project’s goals was to take a building that felt dark and enclosed and make it feel open and bring in daylight. This resulted in numerous requests to SMBH to see if portions of the existing structure could be removed or modified.