|The J. Paul Leonard and Sutro Library at San Francisco State University is unique in the California State University system as a SFSU campus resource as well as home to the Sutro Library, a world‐class archive collection of rare books. The Library was originally constructed in three phases (1953, 1959 and 1971) but was in need of a renovation and expansion to accommodate a growing student population, address serious inadequacies in the condition of its exterior envelope, and update the building’s systems to meet the needs for support of modern multi‐media systems.
The design‐build project took place over two-phases. Phase one of the project included constructing the 60,000 SF, “West Addition” that houses book stacks and the installation of an automated library retrieval system (LRS) at ground level. Phase two included constructing a 20,000 SF “North Addition” as well as the renovation of the 282,500 SF existing library. The renovation removes various redundant staircases and shafts that limit the use of the building’s core. Staircases were moved to the perimeter of the building to further open up the interior space. Additionally, it included building renovation for seismic reinforcement of the existing facilities with concrete shear walls around the perimeter and bonded FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic) strips throughout various areas of the existing concrete and slabs.
The seismic upgrade and interconnection of existing structures and the new addition presented diaphragm and collector design challenges due to the fact they were built at different times – which had resulted in an irregular and complex configuration. To overcome this challenge, a new collector design method was developed based upon the global axial loads and moments within the diaphragm, with collector capacities proportioned according to the reactions of resisting elements.
The library’s architectural language of concrete and glass is consistent with the campus architecture: the massive, anchoring forms of the iconic neighboring student union are carried into the library architecture with the use of sculptural concrete forms at the ground level. The angle of the northern glass wall aligns with the proposed angle of the pedestrian walk, and a new entry on the south of the building revitalizes the adjacent streetscape. The layering of the north and west façades serve as a form of sun shading to protect the inner façade, with an interplay that respond to the exterior stairs, entrance ways, and building movement joints.
To increase the educational capacity of the libraries, state-of-the-art technology is used for efficient space planning. With the addition of an automated book retrieval system, the library now offers access to approximately four million resource items including 665,000 rare books and bound periodicals, and provides users with virtual access to one of the largest collections of electronic resources in the California State University system.
In total, the new library adds 34% more total space; 50% more seating; 50% more group study areas; 50% more collection capacity, both in open stacks and a high‐density automated retrieval system; and 100% more computers; all while providing a flexible and congenial learning environment in the heart of campus.