Above: Beethoven model, for the library's Heads frieze (1937). Right: Ghosts of Knight, a presentation describing the history of the 1936 Depression Era masterpiece, in commemoration of its 75th anniversary.
Find out more about this building's exterior sculpture and ornamention.
Original Structure(1937). Architect: Lawrence, Holford, and Allyn.
By the mid-1920s, the "Old Libe"( now Fenton Hall) had inadequate space to hold library materials even with its 1916 addition. Library collections were stored in several campus locations, including the second floor of Condon Hall. As a consequence of the Depression, Librarian Matthew Douglass with the strong support of Senator Fred Steiwer as able to obtain funding for a new library as a Public Works Administration project. The cost of the library, approximately $460,000, was paid through US gifts and loans and support from alumni and friends -- no state funds were expended for construction. Construction began on September 17, 1935; the new building opened on May 3, 1937. The Library terminated the south axis of Lawrence's plan which originally envisioned a Memorial Auditorium at that site. Significant additions were added in 1950, 1966, and 1993/94 but the exterior integrity, and much of the interior design, remains intact. In the Ellis Lawrence Building Survey, architectural scholar Michael Shellenbarger called the Library "a monument to the depression era PWA and WPA programs which financed it, " and "one of Oregon's best examples of the integrated art and architecture that characterized that last great surge of public building before WWII and the postwar period when such buildings were no longer in favor." The Library's rich interior features work by Fredrick Baker (lighting), Brownell Frasier (interior and textiles), exterior sculpture (Edna Dunberg and Louise Utter); ironwork (O. B. Dawson), landscaping (Fred Cuthbert); and murals (Arthur and Albert Runquist), among many others.
Addition (1966) . Architect: Clare K. Hamlin and B. King Martin.
This addition added 100,000 sq.ft. to the 1937 building.
Addition and Renovation (1994). Architect: TBG Architects and Planners (Eugene); Shepley Bulfinch Richardson Abbott (Boston), design consultants.
The third addition to the 1937 facility added 132,000 square feet. Additions were completed by 1993 and substantial renovations were finished by the summer, 1994. The $27,000,000 award-winning project was enriched by extensive Percent for Art acquisitions. As a priority for the Campaign for Oregon fundraising initiative, a third of the building's cost came through private and corporate gifts. In 1994, the building was named in honor of the family of Philip Knight, President and CEO of Nike, Inc.
"The Ghosts of Knight." Recorded lecture by Edward H. Teague, 2012, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the 1937 library.
Books & Parts of Books
"The Library," Ellis Lawrence Building Survey. v.2 (Eugene). Compiled by the Historic Preservation Program, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon ; project directors, Michael Shellenbarger, Kimberly Lakin. [Salem, Or.] : State Historic Preservation Office, .
Journal, Magazine Articles (arranged by date):
"Library Addition." Old Oregon 32 no.1 (Oct. 1950): 11, ill. (drawing).
"Library Opens Shelves." Old Oregon 32 no.2 (Dec. 1950): 10-11, ill.
Richards, Keith. "The Library at 50." Old Oregon (1987): 20-23, ill.
Newspaper Articles (arranged by date)
"Million dollar library described by Lawrence," Daily Emerald, 04/10/1924, 1.
"Library board moves to seek federal funds,"Modern structure will house all books. $525,000 estimate," Daily Emerald, 05/17/1933, 1.
"State Board approves plans for new $350,000 library," Daily Emerald, 09/28/1933, 1.
"Library adds new shelves for students," Daily Emerald, 10/17/1933, 3.
"Library plans being pushed to completion," Daily Emerald, 11/09/1933, 1.
"Hope rises for infirmary and library here, Projects top list," Daily Emerald, 02/24/1934, 1.