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Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Austin, Tex.
Lake/Flato Architects

Long trapped in the dark, a research center finds new life with the innovative use of glass


© Paul Hester

For more photos click on 'photos & drawings' above.

To see the people and products behind this project click on 'people & products.'

The architects enlivened a very closed building by bringing natural light into the interior, and providing clues on the exterior to what's contained in the collection inside.

To replace the original, heavy-columned entrance, the architects chose a glazed entry that lights the lobby. Artists from the collection endorsed the building with their signatures etched into the glass. Two exterior corner spaces originally clad in stone are now 25-foot-tall interior spaces wrapped in glass, displaying images from the collection that range from Babe Ruth, to James Joyce, to Gone with the Wind. These glazed corners now brighten the interior by day and become giant image lanterns after dark. The architects worked closely with the staff to edit the images and signatures for the etched glass walls before each was digitized, sampled, and produced. Each image was engraved in the inside face of glass and tinted before being assembled into insulated panels and placed on the supporting steel framing.

Glass walls enclose the original second floor balcony to become a great bay window for a visitors' lounge. The second floor now allows views of all four directions.

Formal name of Project:
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Location:
Austin, Tex.

Gross square footage:
40,000 sq. ft.

Total construction cost:
$10 million

Owner:
University of Texas at Austin

Architect:
Lake/Flato Architects, Inc.
311 Third Street, Suite 200
San Antonio, Texas 78205
P] 210.227.3335
F] 210.224.9515
www.lakeflato.com

 

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