Temple’s New $144 Million Library Moves Forward

 

Imagined rendering of the new Temple library on Broad Street from the University’s master plan

A new $144 million, 300-350,000 square foot library just north of McGonigle Hall on North Broad Street will be a beacon of Temple University’s “more urban and urbane campus,” according to a request for design proposals sent recently to architects.

The project, under the direction of new university architect Margaret Carney, follows on the goals set by Temple’s 2020 Framework masterplan and a 2008 library assessment and includes $50 million in funding from the state, approved by Governor Corbett.

A library, of course, is no longer just a library and this one, which will replace the outmoded 1966 Paley Library on 13th Street, is indicative of our changing architectural expectations. No longer does a library merely function as a storehouse for books and a place for study, but also it must perform. Carney told the Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano she expects the new library to act as a “living room” for the city. It is also expected to serve as a symbol of the University’s rising star in academia and in the city, adapt to research technology, provide social and interactive spaces, ample study facilities, rooms for prestigious specialized collections, and mark a major new axis point for a campus turning itself inside out in order to integrate into the streetlife of the city.

In this last respect, landscape design will play a large role in the overall site plan for the project–fitting for a parcel that was once part of the park-like Monument Cemetery, whose unsettling fate our Katrina Ohstrom documented last year.

About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. Popkin's literary criticism appears in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, and The Millions. He is writer-in-residence of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.



6 Comments


  1. Oh thank the powers that be, there will be windows! Real ones! With natural light instead of fluorescent bulbs.

    • Keep in mind the rendering shown here is not the building that will be built, but one imagined by the master planners involved in the 2020 plan. Architects still have to respond to the RFP and one has to be selected. Still, you’re likely to get your natural light. –ed.

  2. Can they make it like the OBA in Amsterdam… stunning building inside and out… restaurant at the top with stunning views.

    I loved studying there. Everything a library should be.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/BibliotheekOBA_2.jpg

  3. 144 million?

    Could have sworn Temple was just crying a river about getting their budget cut by 1.5 percent.

    • Temple is investing 1.1B in their campus through the year 2020. The investment is being financed through bonds and fundraising efforts through their endowment.

    • They are complaining about cuts to the operating budget….dollars for projects like these are from the Capital budget which absolutely cannot be used for operating expenses…..

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