Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Howard-Tilton Memorial Library Construction

In December 1968, Library Journal featured an article about Tulane University's new Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (construction progress photographs shown above). Designed by the New Orleans firm Nolan, Norman and Nolan with consulting assistance of Harvard University Librarian Keyes D. Metcalf (1889-1983), the building was the largest new library to be reported that year. Tulane received nearly $2 million in federal grants to support the $6.2 million project.(1)

LJ reported:

"BIG AS IT IS, Tulane's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is only about one-half of its ultimate size. Part of its construction cost represents an investment in future expansion: foundations capable of bearing another four floors atop the first floor, plus an elevator shaft which is to be unused until the building grows.

Built on a 25-foot module, the building presents a massive and simply designed exterior, with both the ground and fourth floors completely walled in glass, and the rest of the building with concrete aggregate.

The new library is across the street from the old one, and already holds some 700,000 volumes, or 75 percent of the university's total collections. It took a wooden ramp and 11,271 book truck trips to make the move across the street."

Today, visitors to the library will have noticed that its entrance has been moved to the Freret Street facade in preparation for the construction of two additional floors. Keep abreast of the progress here.

(1) "Local Affairs." The Times-Picayune (11 June 1965): p. 1; "U.S. Fund Totaling $2,039,833 Approved for Three N.O. Universities." The Times-Picayune (22  June 1965): p. 20. Building cost was $5.5 million; equipment cost was $655,000.

Images above:  B. Samuels, photographer. Pile Driving. 2 September 1966; Form Setting. 1 February 1967; Concrete Pour. 8 May 1967. Nolan, Norman and Nolan Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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