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Beinecke.jpg

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 1963
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Gordon Bunshaft (1909-1990)
Sculpture Garden by Isamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988)

The Beinecke is a building that has grown on Yale. At first decried by many as bombastic, it now has a strangely quiet presence in the midst of the vast granite-paved expanse of its plaza, punctuated by a sunken courtyard with sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. Inside, there is no doubt that this is a building that whispers. The Vermont-marble panels filter sunlight so that the Beinecke is dim at all hours; its books are housed in a six-story glass box around which a second-floor hall exhibits treasures from the collection. Hidden from view is the expansive space below ground that provides space for research and study. In its abstraction, the Beinecke stands in contrast to its neighbors: Howells & Stokes's Woodbridge Hall, and the robustly classical 1901 Bicentennial Buildings — Woolsey Hall and Commons — designed by Carrere & Hastings.