Claire T. Carney LibraryUniversity of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Between 1962 and 1974, architect Paul Rudolph designed the entire University Massachusetts-Dartmouth campus in the expressive architectural style known as “Brutalism.” The UMass Dartmouth campus is one of the most significant experiments in post-war campus planning, and Claire T. Carney Library serves as its centerpiece. In 2011, designLAB led the re-planning of the outdated, six-story, 160,000 SF library.

By relocating half of the library’s collection to compact shelving in an expanded basement, the building’s upper levels were freed to create flexible learning environments, including small group study areas, “mediascapes,” computer labs, and a Grand Lecture Hall. New consulting desks, computer bars, and media access points were integrated throughout the library, as well as new building & life safety systems. The work included a 25,000 SF addition that fills a once-desolate and multi-tiered exterior space. Encased in glass, the old is presented as new; glazing and metal sunshades respond to the existing building rhythm and frame the manipulated concrete structure within. Interventions fully embrace but respectfully confront the powerful Brutalist structure, and the resulting juxtaposition amplifies the original composition. Student counts have more than doubled since the completion of the project. The library has once again become the architectural, social, and academic center of the campus, with the UMass Dartmouth community embracing the revived 45-year-old structure as their own.


Associate Architects: Austin Architects, LLC