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Mid-century meets modern mid-century

Virginia Commonwealth University,
James Branch Cabell Library
Richmond, VA

The addition and renovation to the James Branch Cabell Library at Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell transformed a mid-century library into a state-of-the-art facility. The original 1970s precast concrete building—designed primarily as a place to store print collections—is now a vibrant, inviting space for the community to collaborate and come together.
The major addition to the Cabell Library produced a vibrant, people-focused space that honors its past and positions VCU as a world-class research institution. Glass, limestone, and metal frames the original building’s northern and eastern façades to create a seamless transition between mid-century and contemporary design.
The Library features a dedicated faculty and graduate research center, a 300-seat event space, a ground-floor café, and a range of reading rooms and collaborative study spaces.

“The inspiring visual statement at the very center of our campus will say more about VCU and what it’s become than any words we can find.”

John E. Ulmschneider, University librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University
The library expansion utilizes the site of a service courtyard for the new addition. The addition transforms the center of campus, improves campus pathways, and links the library to other destinations at VCU.
Slot windows with glass fins provide solar shading. Shepley Bulfinch is Design Architect, in association with Moseley Architects, Architect of Record.

Library Journal’s New Landmark Libraries Award

First Place Honor

Higher Education/Research Category Winner for ENR Mid Atlantic

Best Projects