Duke University, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Durham, NC | 2015

The Rubenstein Library renovation elevates the visibility of Duke's expansive special collections and completes the transformation of the Perkins Library Complex at the heart of this research institution.

The renovated Library is infused with highly visible exhibit and event space, a prominent Research Room, and a state-of-the-art stack core. The main floor Research Room and consultation rooms, flanked by galleries, seminar rooms, and event spaces, connect the historic Gothic entrance with Perkins and Bostock Libraries. Exhibit spaces range from the Biddle Rare Books Room's museum-quality displays to the two-dimensional spaces of the Photography Gallery and the flexible Chappell Gallery. The renovation reactivates the library's most historic elements, restoring the 1928 Gothic stair tower; reimagining Biddle as a special exhibit space; and giving new life to the second floor Gothic Reading Room.

These legacy spaces wrap around a new special collections stack core. The original stack-supported storage space was removed and replaced with a new structure that aligns with existing floor plates. The secure stack core provides its fragile collections with humidity control, UV-free LED lighting, cold storage, and compact shelving that accommodates oversized box storage and art pieces. Occupancy sensors limit unnecessary exposure to light. Administrative and operational spaces include a new exhibit prep area down the hall from the previously renovated Preservation Department.

The Rubenstein Library project is the final phase of the 15-year expansion and renovation of the Perkins Library Complex begun with Shepley Bulfinch?s 2001 master plan. Rubenstein Library is LEED Gold Certified.

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Harvard president lauds Duke's special collections at Rubenstein Library de


Shepley Bulfinch Team

Robert Peirce
Steve Erwin
Christian Moneyhun
Mark Finneral
Joe Rondinelli
Tom Frohlichstein
Claire Gilbert
Claude Greenberg
Sara DiNoto
Ian Toeg
Kalyn Pavlinic
Gina Fombelle
Jason Weldon
Kristie Avery



  • ALA / IIDA Library Interior Design Awards, Category Winner for Special Libraries over 30,000 square feet

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©2017 Shepley Bulfinch