Conceived in 1963 as a utopian campus community by celebrated architect Paul Rudolph, the UMass Dartmouth campus remains a tour de force of late 20th century architectural exuberance and optimism. Completed in 1972, the cast in place concrete Claire T. Carney Library is the centerpiece of the concentric campus plan. The renovation/addition to the 160,000 square foot library involved an upgrade of all systems and a 27,000 square foot addition to accommodate group study spaces, a lecture space, a café, a new entrance, and a redesigned campus landscape.
The design approach for the new landscape continues while reinterpreting the style and philosophy behind Paul Rudolph’s campus community. Materials and form from the Brutalist interior are extended into the library’s plaza and lawn. Concrete stairs serve the dual purpose of blending soft- and hardscapes together while acting as informal seating. The harmony between exterior and interior spaces is also developed within the plaza’s functions. Visual engagement is activated from either side of the library’s large, glass curtain wall, custom seating articulates the site’s elevation changes providing unique opportunities for social interaction with each grade change.