Ethelind Coblin Architect

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Athenaeum

Philadelphia, PA

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is one of the preeminent architecture libraries in the USA. For its 200th anniversary in 2014 the institution called for an ideas competition to re-imagine the collection and dissemination of architectural knowledge. The proposed 7-story New Athenaeum has a distributed program enabling its mission to make accessible architectural knowledge through new technology and social interaction. All of the archival holdings, organized into an automated wall, store and display the collections. The archive energizes the building, mediated with the rest of the program through a full height atrium. Institutional functions are bracketed by public programming on the lower and upper floors, with exhibition, library and multi-purpose spaces. The 6th floor interfaces the public with the collection and interlinks the building’s volume with the city. An experimental holographic environment allows for state-of-the-art means of investigation.