Limestone relief makes campus library a focal point

January 1, 2007
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The newly renovated David L. Rice Library at the campus of the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN, features a limestone and brick facade.


The David L. Rice Library, a new 155,000-square-foot academic facility at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN, is more than double the size of the original campus library, and it features a limestone and brick facade.

Woollen, Molzan and Partners, Inc. of Indianapolis, IN, served as the Design Architect for the project, while the Architect of Record was Hafer Associates from Evansville, IN. According to the architects, the initial phase of work was to renovate the existing 1971 library; however, after reviewing the program needs, budget and schedule, the campus leadership came to the conclusion to build new.

Carved panels were installed along the buildings rotunda, and the panels were jointed from three or four pieces for a total size of approximately 9- x 10-foot each.

The architects considered several factors when determining the main goals for the project. First, they wanted to construct a facility that would be flexible enough to meet the evolving program requirements of modern academic library facilities. They also wanted to provide a comfortable, attractive environment for individual study as well as group collaborative study, and to design a campus resource that is both the academic heart and technical hub of the campus. Lastly, the design team wanted to utilize a palette of materials that “weave a fabric of contextual design with existing campus structures.”

The name of the library was intricately carved into the limestone.

To meet the desired aesthetic, Indiana limestone from Evans Limestone Co. of Bedford, IN, was used for the exterior of the building, wherever brick is not utilized. “The materials were selected for contextual design with existing facilities on campus; therefore, no other materials were considered,” stated the design team. “After all, the project is located in southern Indiana, the source of much of the country’s limestone.”

The limestone was used in 2- x 3-foot pieces at the top and bottom of the rotunda, as well as for window trimmings and the top sections of each part of the building. The standard buff limestone was used in both a smooth finish and a rock-face finish, according to the architects.

The “Schlechte Facade,” a limestone relief that hangs 30 feet high on the rotunda of the new building, mirrors the Liberal Arts Center located west of the library by using items depicting school supplies.

The “Schlechte Facade,” a limestone relief that hangs 30 feet high on the rotunda of the new building, mirrors the Liberal Arts Center located west of the library by using items depicting school supplies. The panel was made possible thanks to a gift from Dorothea Johnson Schlechte, a longtime Evansville resident and supporter of arts in the community.

The architects wanted to provide a comfortable, attractive environment for individual study as well as group collaborative study, and to design a campus resource that is both the academic heart and technical hub of the campus.

According to the installers from Bartley & Perigo Masonry Contractors, Inc. of Evansville, IN, the installation was very typical. Therefore, the company, who has been setting stone for over 40 years, did not run into any problems on the jobsite. Construction of the facility began in June 2004 and was completed in April 2006.

The new five-level library- is more than double the size of the original campus library.

David L. Rice Library
University of Southern Indiana
Evansville, IN

Design Architect: Woollen, Molzan and Partners, Indianapolis, IN

Architect of Record: Hafer Associates, Evansville, IN

Stone Installer: Bartley & Perigo Masonry Contractors, Inc., Evansville, IN

Stone Supplier: Evans Limestone Co., Bedford, IN

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