Yale University, Irving S. Gilmore Music Library

New Haven, Connecticut | 1998

Yale University's Gilmore Music Library incorporates an existing open-air courtyard and adjacent floor space to form a graceful "building within a building", within the Collegiate Gothic Sterling Library. Shepley Bulfinch's 1992 Master Plan for the Sterling Memorial Library had identified the courtyard as a suitable site for the new Music Library.

Contemporary, Gothic-inspired, arched trusses lift the gently curved roof some 60 feet above the Reference Reading area and are anchored to the Library's existing steel frame construction. Clerestories on all four sides provide reflected indirect light onto the lightly-colored ceiling and into the space below.

The Library's "Grand Reading Room" is on the mezzanine level. Among other specialty spaces are the soundproof Historic Sound Recording Workroom; two acoustically-isolated Seminar Rooms

In addition to allowing the Sterling Library to remain open throughout construction, other challenges included building and installing the trusses; and weaving new mechanical, electrical and life safety systems into the existing building. This adaptive re-use of space helps to reduce energy loss in the existing library building and minimizes the "footprint" of the overall complex.


Shepley Bulfinch Team

Jon Ross
Alexander Howe
Joe Rondinelli
Susan Hoadley
Karen Estabrook
Peter Nobile
John Christiansen



  • Regional Award of Merit 2001, International Illumination Design Awards, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America
  • 2000

  • Award of Excellence 2000, GE Edison Award Competition
  • 2000

  • Gold Citation 2000, American School and University Educational Interiors
  • 1999

  • Honor Award 1999, AIA Connecticut

View awards list »

©2017 Shepley Bulfinch