FYS 103: If You Build It
15 November 2012
The Unusualness of the Geisel Library
Sometimes, it’s good to be bad. Rules are meant to be broken. It’s good to be completely different. At least, this is the case when considering unusual architecture. Most buildings follow the standards and practices established by architectural movements of the past, but unusual buildings break rules and don’t do this. The Geisel Library, designed by William Pereira in the 1960’s, is a wonderful example of unusual architecture. Made of reinforced concrete and glass, the building has 176,000 total square feet, eight floors, and cost over five million dollars to build. Named after Theodore Geisel (better known as Dr. Suess), the Geisel Library doesn’t follow the standards set in the past and shows that rule-breaking is a beneficial trend in the architectural world.
William Pereira was an architect from Chicago and began working in the late 1930’s. He was famous for his buildings with unique designs, and the Geisel Library is no exception. The Geisel Library has an unusual shape, and it sort of resembles a pyramid. The first two floors of the library compose the base, and the tower is composed between the fourth and eight floors. One unique part of the library is the “lack” of a third floor. The third floor is just reinforced concrete and is used as an emergency exit for the people on the higher floors. All of the floors in the tower are completely surrounded by large glass windows, making the building look like a spectacle. The most unique feature about the building is its shape. Unlike most buildings, the widest point of the Geisel Library is the sixth floor, two floors from the top. The sixth floor spans over 210 square feet. The tower floors above and below the sixth floor progressively shrink to the size of the base. Sixteen giant concrete beams extend upwards from the building’s base to support floors four, five, and six. The concrete beams...