Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale

On our class trip to New Haven last week, we stopped by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.  Its a building I have known for a while and studied in school, but this was my first time seeing it in person.  Seeing a building like this is a reminder to me of how important it is to actually go and visit these buildings we spend so much time talking about.  Looking at photos of a building versus walking around it, in it, getting a sense of the scale, smell, sound and temperature...there's no comparison.  I'm always interested in the fact that some buildings look OK in photos but amazing in person, and then there are some buildings that are really photogenic, but in person aren't that interesting.  (Other examples here and here.)  I was completely taken by surprise upon visiting the Beinecke Library.  Its simply beautiful.  The photos will never capture its full magical properties.   

It was designed by Gordon Bunshaft of SOM, and was a gift of the Beinecke family to Yale in 1963.  The large slices of marble you see in the photo above are actually so thin that they allow a small amount of light to pass through them, providing some natural illumination to the library and still protecting the ancient books inside.

See the light coming through the marble?

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