Joe & Rika Mansueto Library

Chicago, USA

Take a book, sit under a big tree that provides shade – and dive into the world of literature and science. This was the central idea behind the lighting design for the extension to the University of Chicago Library.
The lighting ambience is natural and glare-free. The colour rendering is almost 100%, due to the fact that at least during the day only daylight is available. To support this effect, high-quality white glass was used, which hardly changes the spectral composition of the daylight inside the building. The light colours are therefore also in harmony with the circadian rhythm of daytime & place.
The incident zenithal daylight not only has measurably much higher illuminance levels but is also emotionally perceived by people as brighter. Glare is avoided by a 57% printing on the glass, the lower part of the facade is without printing to ensure a clear view. At night or during the daylight hours, a mixture of direct downlights (spotlights of project-specific special design) and indirect uplights positioned on the “climate pillars” (cylindrical stainless steel objects) ensures optimum visual and reading conditions. The reading places have an additional reading luminaire integrated into the furniture.
The uplights for ceiling illumination on the air-conditioning columns elude the viewer but are of elementary importance for the spatial effect. They illuminate the light-looking steel construction and support the “lightness of the unity of façade and construction”. In addition, they illuminate the glass panes with a printing (57%).
The printing towards the interior is white, for better reflection and light diffusion of the indirect light component. This creates a lighting mood that is very close to a natural lighting atmosphere in the shade of a big tree…


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