Rice Library Service Center, Houston, TX (2002-2005)
The Rice Library Service Center (RLSC) is a high-density book storage facility with an anticipated capacity of 1.75 to 2.0 million volumes. The off-site 18,500 sq. ft. book depository improves and expands Rice University's Fondren Library by providing ample storage, as well as newer and more efficient filing and archiving systems. The facility consists of two distinct parts: a two-story office and processing area, and a three-story open volume - the book storage vault - containing rows of high-density modular shelving. The entire vault is a carefully controlled environment for storing lesser-used and fragile materials. A constant 50 degrees (Farenheit) and 30 percent humidity is maintained all year round—an ideal temperature for the long-term preservation of paper products as well as for film based-materials (microfilm, videotapes, slides, etc.). The building's primary exterior material is a customized tilt-up concrete wall system designed to provide a protective yet animated opacity. The wall's cascading profile animates and scales down what is primarily a windowless mass. Sealed and painted a bright, earthy green, the building acquires the presence of a geometric topiary across a vast green field.