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Phillips Exeter Academy Library. Located in Exeter, NH. Constructed by renowned architect, Louis Khan. 9 levels with shelf capacity of 250,000 volumes. Such treasures 13th to 16th-century illuminated manuscripts, 16th-century wood engravings, original ships’ logs, and early British and American newspapers are available for scholarly research and are displayed from time to time in special exhibits. The Library’s Ottaway/Bown Adams Silent Film Library is a collection of more than 300 films produced in the United States, England, France, Germany, and Russia.
Image Courtesy of Phillips Exeter Academy.
It inspired us to take a look at a few other incredible places to read in the world. We have followed Candida Höfer as one of the quintessential German photographers documenting architectural space, and we installed one of her famous images of a very old library in Portugal that dates to the year 1537!
As you notice in all of the examples, both historic and contemporary libraries are designed to have a reading table in a very large open space. A very different reading experience than we typically have at home.
In our residences, we always discuss with our clients the specifics of where they think they may wish to read in the home we are designing. This discussion is important, especially as our reading is changing from book and newspaper to computer and iPad, not to mention phone. The space requirements remain similar, in that one must consider the chair, the light, the table, all of which make that spot your "go to" place to read. Feeling held is how I refer to the warmth of that moment when one settles in with a glorious book.
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