Lewis Walpole Library

The Lewis Walpole Library, a department of Yale University Library, is an internationally recognized research institute for 18th-century studies and the primary center for the study of Horace Walpole, the English man of letters.


Yale University

Location New Haven, CT
Size 16,266 Sq. Ft.
Features addition, renovation
Program reading room, collection storage, workspaces, exhibit spaces
Year Completed 2007
Photo Credit Peter Aaron/Esto
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Wilmarth Sheldon "Lefty" Lewis, a preeminent scholar of Walpole, gave the collection along with his eighteenth-century Farmington, Connecticut, estate to Yale. This posed a quandary for Yale since the historic house would be difficult to preserve if modified to accommodate the larger spaces and the controlled environment that the collection required.

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Centerbrook's solution was to create an attached 'barn' with state-of-the-art systems. The addition includes a spacious reading room, modern collection storage, and innovative staff and conservation workspaces. The addition is in the tradition of connected Connecticut farm buildings, and fits a large building into an historic neighborhood. It preserves the existing historic frame house, retaining its residential image and scale.

The library and other 20th-century additions to the original building were restored and renovated to accommodate exhibits, classes, and social events.

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  • Merit Award, Excellence in Architecture for Building Addition, Society of College and University Planning
  • Honor Award for Interiors, Boston Society of Architects
  • Finalist, Education Category, Environmental Design + Construction Magazine
  • Best Metal Roofing Award, Metal Architecture Design Awards