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Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Yale University
New Haven
Connecticut

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.

 

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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 information.


Books and other web sites

 

www.library.yale.edu/beinecke/brblinfo.htm provides practical visitor information for the library as well as further pictures of the building.

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