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

Wilmarth Sheldon "Lefty" Lewis, a pre-eminent scholar of Walpole, gave the collection along with his eighteenth-century Farmington, Connecticut estate to Yale University. 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.

Centerbrook's solution was to create an attached 'barn' with state-of-the-art systems. The 13,000 square foot 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 twentieth-century additions to the original building were restored and renovated to accommodate exhibits, classes, and social events.

Centerbrook received four design awards for the project, including an Honor Award for Interiors from the Boston Society of Architects.

Photography © Peter Aaron/Esto