Thomas Library at Wittenberg University
Wittenberg University wanted the Thomas library to be the “…living heart of the university,” both physically and emotionally. It was to be sympathetic to the adjacent Weaver Chapel while projecting its own strong personality and a progressive image of the university.
Site selection and building placement create a new quadrangle anchored by the library, student union, dormitories and academic building and preserve an existing, tree-lined path that is both the functional and ceremonial entrance to the campus.
Architecture based on historic styles rather than substance quickly becomes dated. The Thomas Library relies on scale and proportion informed by functional needs for its articulation. Designed for daylighting, the south elevation comprises large, recessed areas of glass, admitting winter sunlight but blocking the summer sun and heat gain. Angled windows animate the elevations, recalling traditional bay windows and drawing light into the library. The glazed entry extends the vocabulary of the windows, providing views into the life within and a strong connection to the campus without. The resulting building is at once rational, formal and inviting: an appropriate, enduring expression for a library that is the “heart” of the university.