Renovations to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library are in full swing. In recent months, we celebrated an important turning point in the project—the transition from a
destruction site to a construction site. The demolition of the original stack core is finished, walls have been removed, and the façade of the building is being cleaned. From this point on, it’s all building up, framing out, and adding finishing touches until the summer of 2015, when the renovation is scheduled to be complete.
For more images and updates on the renovation, and to follow our progress, visit
August 2013: The third floor of the Rubenstein Library during demolition. This area previously housed the offices of the Political Science department. After the renovation, it will feature a series of study areas for collaborative research work.
August 2013: The Gothic Reading room during demolition. The original wood shelves have been removed and will be replaced by new ones designed in keeping with the room’s original character.
September 2013: Workers remove the roof above the old stacks. The entire stack core had to come out, from top floor to basement. New stacks with reinforced floors will be built in their place. Then we’ll put the roof back on!
December 2013: Demolishing a portion of the original stone wall. As some floors of the library get reconfigured, new openings have to be created to accommodate new hallways and entrances.
December 2013: Excavating the stack core foundation. Workers are finally getting down to bedrock. Once the mud and debris are cleared out, a new foundation will be poured.
February 2014: With the new foundation in place, new columns and column footings are being built to support the new stack core.
February 2014: Scaffolding in the Gothic Reading Room. The chandeliers have been removed, the lighting systems are being enhanced, and the ceiling panels are being repainted.
April 2014: Wall framing in the University Librarian’s office, formerly the site of the Breedlove Room.
April 2014: Workers install the refurbished leaded-glass windows that were removed at the beginning of the renovation and shipped to Virginia for professional restoration. For more about the window restoration project, see our story in this issue.
One thought on “Rubenstein Library Renovation in Pictures”
It is such a privilege to see these pictures and to gain an impression of how the structures may have looked as they were built in the 1920s and 30s. The original construction of the Duke campuses, both East and West must have been regarded as quite remarkable and probably, quite unexpected, given the difficult economic conditions of that era.
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