Alexander Isley Inc. (Redding, Conn.) worked with leadership teams from North Carolina State University Libraries and the Institute for Emerging Issues in Raleigh on various design projects for the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library, opened earlier this year to great acclaim.
Designed by Snøhetta with Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, the building reimagines what a modern library can be. It encourages teamwork and scholarship through the use of innovative technology and collaborative workspaces. Features include immersive video experience theaters, clusters of glass-walled collaboration suites, and an underground automatic book delivery system.
Initially, the Alexander Isley team developed a pair of case statement publications to aid in raising funds for the library’s technology features and interior furnishings. The team then developed the library’s dedication signage program, comprising a system of inscriptions that could be integrated within both interior and exterior spaces. They also developed a customized version of the Vista sans typeface that could be laser cut to various depths and applied to walls and bench surfaces to fuse with the architecture.
The main donor wall features individuals’ names applied to an array of oversized glass panels. University requirements stipulate the use of a consistent type size for donor inscriptions, so the Isley team developed a system wherein the depths of letterforms indicate varying categories of donations. The team also developed a series of textile scrim designs inspired by “The Color Wall,” the iconic Joe Cox-designed kinetic light sculpture in place at the university’s main library. Finally, the team designed a wayfinding/reference card based on the idea of an airline evacuation card, minimizing content to provide just the basics for navigating the space.