UC Berkeley Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library

Bancroft Library, originally built in 1949 and housed in the Doe Annex, is a historical archive of irreplaceable books, manuscripts, papers and other documents worth $1 billion. The collection includes Mark Twain papers, ancient Egyptian papyrus fragments, 15th century books and four Shakespeare folios. Degenkolb developed a retrofit scheme for the Bancroft Library, using a seismic strengthening approach that protects the contents of the space, as well as its occupants. Renovation of the interior structure increased usable space and included thoughtful placement of a lateral force resisting system. The retrofit removed interior floors, poured new foundations and reinforced sheer-walls from the basement to the roof. A state-of-the-art HVAC system now maintains precise temperature and humidity to preserve the manuscripts. A security system with 250 closed-circuit cameras and motion sensors protects the valuable volumes. In addition to practical improvements, the renovation recreated the Beaux-Arts rotunda with marble and onyx floors, bronze doors and gold-leaf medallions—a fitting bit of opulence for the library that mirrors the richness of its collection.

Features:

  • Seismic strengthening
  • Historic preservation
  • Beaux-Arts rotunda with marble and onyx floors, bronze doors and gold-leaf medallions
  • Security system with 250 closed-circuit cameras and motion sensors protects the valuable volumes

Benefits:

  • Ensures the preservation of 600,000 volumes, 60 million manuscript items, 8 million photographs, 43,000 microforms and 23,000 maps
  • State-of-the-art HVAC system maintains precise temperature and humidity to preserve the manuscripts
  • Acoustical improvements with use of cork flooring in an expanded reading room

Project Stats

Client Ratcliff Architects, University of California,
Square Footage 129,000
Construction Cost $64 million
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