Centerbrook Library Project Recognized

Published on May 7th, 2012

Centerbrook was honored recently for its renovations and expansion of an historic library by the International Interior Design Association and the Library Leadership and Management Association. The Carnegie Library, which is located on the campus of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, was chosen as the Outstanding Historical Renovation Project – one of seven categories in the 2012 Library Interiors Competition.

The Best of Competition winner will be announced at the American Library Association Annual Conference on June 24 at the Anaheim Convention in California. The winners also will be featured on the IIDA website and in Contract and American Libraries magazines.

The new addition and extensive renovations were needed to keep pace with Cold Spring Harbor’s steady growth. The heart of the 4,425-square-foot addition is a new reading room on the first floor. The addition also houses space for the Laboratory’s archives, which include: the personal papers of Nobel Laureates Dr. James D. Watson, Barbara McClintock, and Alfred D. Hershey; a rare book collection; a room for scholarly research; rooms housing various scientific journals; a new entry and improved access for disabled users; and a collection of over 100,000 rare photographs chronicle molecular biology's rise following World War II.

Renovations of the existing two-story structure encompassed replacing interior walls, ceiling, lighting fixtures, wiring and plumbing as well as the restoration of much of the classical oak trim, stair rails, and banisters. The Centerbrook design team was led by partner Jim Childress, partner emeritus Bill Grover, Todd Andrews, Ken MacLeod, and Vicki McCourt.

The Carnegie Building has played an important role in the history of American science. It was where plant scientist George H. Shull discovered the value of “hybrid vigor” in corn genetics in 1908, a finding that eventually led to the tripling of commercial corn yields in the United States. In 1953, scientific facilities were removed from the building, which then became a library.