Formerly the U. Grant Miller Library, the Clark Family Library is now open
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – DesignGroup took a mid-20th century library and created an updated space that blends with a campus of historic 19th century buildings. The newly renamed Clark Family Library at Washington & Jefferson College has been transformed into a two-level, 31,000 square foot space of modern information commons combining quiet library engagement with the collaborative learning needs of the students.
In a 2013 master plan, DesignGroup evaluated the building’s infrastructure and functionality. Renovations in the years to follow sought to update the technological and functional aspects of the space, while also preserving and enhancing the library’s history, which dates back to the 1780’s. The result is a fully renovated and upgraded building that also honors the historic collections and archives contained within.
The design is anchored by a new portico entry and a new multi-use outdoor space for students and staff. “The portico entry married the building with the historic appeal of the rest of the campus,” said Tom Chidlow, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, principal and project manager at DesignGroup’s Pittsburgh office. “The cherry on top for this project is really the outdoor plaza for students to use for study or leisure.”
The entry level includes individual and collaborative seating for study using technology, quiet group study rooms with AV, a technology classroom, a video viewing room, a print collection and space for current periodicals. The lower level houses the special collection Walker room, including rare books and period furniture, as well as the circulating collection with quiet study areas surrounding the perimeter.
Architectural renderings and photography of the project are available upon request.
Founded in 1972, DesignGroup is an AIA Ohio Gold Medal architecture and design firm with offices in Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The practice focuses on education, civic + cultural, library, healthcare, and commercial projects. With numerous, award-winning projects located throughout the United States, DesignGroup's work is unmistakable, with a balance of stunning contemporary architecture, thoughtful renovations, and sustainable building practices. Civic responsibility is integral to DesignGroup’s philosophy; beyond bricks and mortar, the firm is deeply involved in community organizations and its design principals are recognized as thought leaders in design. Learn more at
Sara Stacy, MPA
Blue Water Communications