The Cornerstone Phase, the final phase of the Perkins Project, focuses on the 1928 West Campus library building and its 1948 addition. This portion of the Perkins complex is at the very heart of the campus designed by the Horace Trumbauer architectural firm and is emblematic of the character of the West Quad and Duke University. The cornerstone for the University is visible on the façade of the 1928 library building.
Similarly, The 1928/1948 library building is central to the teaching and research mission of Duke University, since it houses the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The treasures of Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s distinctive general collections. are augmented by the holdings of the University Archives and several research centers: the Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture; the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture; the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History; the Archive of Documentary Arts; and the Human Rights Archive.
The program objectives of the Cornerstone Phase include increasing the seating capacity of the Special Collections Reading Room; providing consultation rooms to accommodate collaborative projects and staff assistance for users; creating exhibition galleries for display of the collections’ rare and unique materials; relocating the research centers’ curatorial staff to the Deryl Hart Suite where they will be easily accessible to users and available for consultation; and providing instruction spaces for faculty teaching courses that use special collections.
The program also addresses the imperative of a secure stack area where special collections can be shelved in an appropriately controlled environment. In the upcoming renovation, the entire stack core will be removed—from lower level 1 to the roof--and replaced with a new floor structure on independent footings that will support high-density compact shelving.
The work on the stacks is essential for the well-being of the Libraries’ special collections, but visitors to Perkins will never see the extensive changes. Visitors will, however, be able to appreciate the attention the Biddle Rare Book Room and the Gothic Reading Room receive. The charm and character of these cherished Duke spaces will be be preserved, but their finishes, furnishings, lighting, and technology infrastructure will be enhanced
The final phase of the Perkins Project will also include an office suite and meeting rooms for the Duke University Libraries administrative staff. This is a change from earlier plans that located the Libraries’ administrative offices in the nearby Old Law building. And, last but not least, the entrance to Perkins will be re-designed with new doors, windows, and lighting to make the 1928/1948 and 1968 buildings a more unified and welcoming presence on the historic West Quad. The completion of the transformation of the 1928/1948 buildings will also complete the Perkins Project.
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