In the Hunt Library, Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and local architects Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee have created one of the most memorable library buildings in the world. It’s a library that encourages reflection, creativity and even awe. With quiet places to study at traditional reading tables, high-tech areas that can be modified to meet users’ needs and comfortable group study rooms that facilitate collaboration, the Hunt Library is a next-generation learning space that’s open for business today.
“You have this ‘wow’ experience when you walk inside” the Hunt Library, says Maurice York, head of information technology for the NCSU Libraries. “It opens up the imagination. Almost simultaneously, you have a reaction of ‘Ah!’ and an urge to play. That’s the foundation of human discovery.”
Designers planned the Hunt Library to function as a seamless addition to its natural surroundings. Natural light floods common areas on every floor, and the Skyline Reading Room on the top level offers expansive views of Lake Raleigh and its surrounding forest, a hallowed place on NC State’s campus.
University history guided the Hunt Library’s design in other ways, too. The library houses collections relevant to the nearby colleges of engineering and textiles, and Snøhetta says the building’s form was inspired by the “complex geometries” of textile manufacturing.
The Hunt Library is also a model of environmental responsibility. Nearly one-third of construction materials used at the Hunt Library were recycled. Ceiling-mounted sensors throughout the building monitor room occupancy and adjust climate control accordingly. These sensors, LED lighting and other sustainability features are expected to reduce the building’s energy consumption by 31 percent. More than 80 percent of the wood products in the Hunt Library come from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.