William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library

  • Caption
    View of West Side Exterior at Night
Related people
Erwin F. Frey (artist)
MSI (landscape architect)
Howard Dwight Smith (architect)
Graham Gund (architect)
Acock Associates Architects (architect)
Allen and Collens (architect)
2007 - 2009;1910;1912
North and Central America->United States->Ohio->Franklin (county)->Columbus
This building is located at 1858 Neil Avenue on the Ohio State University campus. Ground was broken December 24, 1910 and construction was completed two years later on December 18, 1912. The library was officially open to the university community on January 6, 1913. The library has been renovated or expanded three times since its original date of construction. The first addition, a massive extension of the original three-floor structure, the addition of a 10-story tower, as well as single story extensions to the north and south ends of the east entrance. This first renovation was completed on June 2, 1951. The second expansion added an unadorned modern extension to the west wing, finished on January 5, 1977. A new, third, $108 million dollar renovation of the building began on January 10, 2007 and was completed in the Summer of 2009. The 2007-09 renovation included hazardous materials abatement, replacement and expansion of the 1977 addition, and restoration of the building's original east facade. Completed May 1, 2009, the $108M William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library project (the Main Library) on the Ohio State University campus totals 306,000 gross square feet, with 91,000 square feet of addition and 215,000 square feet of renovation & restoration. The project also included development of a complete temporary library in an existing warehouse north of campus for the three years encompassing the 27 month construction period. The library opened to the public on August 3, 2009, and officially dedicated September 24, 2009. The design challenge was to modernize and enlarge the library into a technologically relevant, contemporary study and research center. This change represents the evolving mission of the library; as an information nexus, it is no longer primarily a warehouse for print media. The designers confronted a daunting perception of darkness, age, and wayfinding confusion. The design needed to strengthen the iconic, historic image of the main library while expressing a fresh enthusiasm for intellectual change and growth.
1900s (1900 - 1909)
1910s (1910 - 1919)
1950s (1950 - 1959)
1970s (1970 - 1979)
2000s (2000 - 2009)
Art Deco
Renaissance Revival
stone and/or rock