Old Library

Bryn Mawr College | Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

A designated National Historic Landmark, designed by Cope & Stewardson, the Old Library (formerly known as Thomas Great Hall) remains one of the most important public spaces at Bryn Mawr College since its 1902 founding. Yet, the college knew it was imperative to modernize the structure to ensure it was feasible for community gatherings for coming generations.

VMA oversaw a major exterior restoration and a rehabilitation that included the upgrade and modernization of the building systems and renovation of many interior spaces. First, we repaired the masonry, leaded-glass, roof, and interior woodwork. This provided the opportunity to introduce new HVAC, electrical, lighting, sound systems, and a large-scale storage closet. Accented by custom-designed light fixtures and furnishings, the space is used today for conferences, lectures, and concerts, while a formal lounge and study area provides for smaller gatherings. 

We designed lounge furniture and tables that were lightweight and moveable, yet appropriately scaled for the space’s large volume.  We scoured attics and basements at the college to discover historic dining hall furniture that was subsequently refurbished and upholstered. Low level lighting is provided by table and floor lamps, while the perimeter of the room is lit by subtly installed lights as the base of each of the large leaded glass windows.


Pennsylvania Society of Architects, Honor Award, 1993
Preservation Pennsylvania, Institutional Stewardship Merit Award, 1993

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Size: 5,500 sf
Budget: $900,000


Architecture, Interior Design, Historical Preservation

Old Library

Bryn Mawr College | Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

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