Beinecke Rare Book and
Designed by Skidmore, Owings
& Merrill in 1963, the Beinecke Library made a break from the firm's line of corporate
headquarters. The Beinecke protects its rare books by keeping them in air-conditioned
glass cages within a large and windowless rectangular void in white marble.
Although the walls are
windowless, the marble panels in the walls (held within a concrete and steel grid) are cut
sufficientlly thin that they are translucent. During the day, the building is lit by an
eerie but pleasing yellowish light glimmering through the whole walls of marble,
supplemented by lights around the book cages. At night the effect is reversed, and the
interior lights cause the whole building to glow gently when seen from the outside.
The mystique of this structure
is further emphasised by its being raised off the ground by concrete piers, with a glass
shell around the space beneath the building providing the entrance. The purity of the
walls is therefore uninterrupted by either doors or windows.
Simon Glynn 1981 and 1999
How to visit
The building is open Monday
through Friday between 8.30 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on some Saturdays (when Yale College is
in session) between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Please call +1 203 432 3771 for up-to-date visitor