Maya Lin, the American artist and designer who shot to fame with her Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., has been tapped to lead the redesign of the Neilson Library at Smith College in Northampton, MA. Unlike some other university projects by big name designers—say, the Zaha Hadid's work at the Vienna University of Economics and Business or Snøhetta's upcoming robo-library at Temple University—this won't be an opportunity to work on a clean slate. Rather, Lin will have to figure how to undo the damage of three awkward additions that have been tacked onto the century-old structure over the years. As Lin tells The New York Times, "It's become a bit of a gorilla."
As suggested in Smith's statement
released today, choosing Lin made sense because "the natural environment has been an important source of inspiration" for her. The library, of course, sits on a campus designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect behind Central Park in New York City. The $100M project, which will be a collaboration with international design firm Shepley Bulfinch, aspires to not only create extra space for the college's collections, but also to redefine the library experience so that it can accommodate the "scholarly and social goals" of the 21st-century. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and will take at least two years. But maybe by 2020, it'll join the ranks of
these six new libraries, recently crowned some of the best in the country.
· Maya Lin to Lead Redesign of Smith College Library [NY Times]