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Redesigned Reading Room Offers New Study Spaces

Posted On January 06, 2017 | 16:15 pm | by meredithb | Permalink

The renovated Library Reading Room reopened to scholars this spring with new study carrels and work areas that will serve a growing community of Fellows, Junior Fellows, and Readers. Formerly an open space used to hold current periodicals, the room was redesigned during the winter of 2014–15 to house sixteen individual study areas.

Director of Facilities Alan Dirican worked with Cunningham Quill Architects and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company on the latest renovation of the Reading Room, which originally served as a greenhouse for Mildred Bliss’s orchids. The most challenging part of the project was reducing the noise level in the room. The Facilities team worked with a sound engineer to refit the space, using a combination of electronic sound masking systems and sound-absorbent ceiling materials.

The recent expansion of Dumbarton Oaks’ academic programs has increased the need for space for resident and visiting scholars. In addition to record numbers of Fellows and Junior Fellows, new programming initiatives include the Early-Career Musician Residency and the Mellon Fellowship in Urban Landscape Studies, which enables landscape architects working in the field to spend a semester at Dumbarton Oaks.