Mudd Manuscript Library

Architects: Hugh Stubbins & Associates of Cambridge, MA

Date of Construction: 1975-1976

Materials: brick, concrete

Floors: 3

Use: Library, conference room

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The Mudd Manuscript Library was commissioned in 1975 and funded in part by a $44 million fund for American university and college buildings established by the will of Seeley G. Mudd, a dean of the University of Southern California School of Medicine. The library was granted $1.125 million by the fund and other donors also contributed toward the $2.5 million goal.(1)

The library holds the personal papers of many twentieth-century public figures and the University Archives. In addition to two floors of stacks, the library also contains office spaces, a reading room, conference room, and a visitors’ lounge.(2)

The ground floor entrance is made of glass doors flanked by an expanse of glass. This creates an interesting contrast between the light layer of glass topped by heavy purple and deep red bricks that extend up toward the roofline with no space for windows. The glass on the first floor is very necessary to prevent the whole library from being too severe and heavy. The ground level is recessed with the upper stories creating an over hang above the entrance. The overhang has repetitive squares that continue in to the ceiling of the first floor that resemble coffers. The ceiling of the first floor has some of the coffers lit by artificial light in an irregular pattern.

On the other facades, portions of the building jut out along with vertical cutouts that disrupt the monotony of the bricks and the even planes. Around each side there are small gardens framed by smaller brick structures. The natural element of pines and shrubs create a nice contrast with the glass and the deep red and purple colors of the brick.

(1) “Mudd Manuscript Library”. Princeton University, An Interactive Campus History 1746-1996. Princeton University. n.d. Web. 6 April, 2011.

(2) “Mudd Manuscript Library”.


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