Wesleyan's Olin Memorial Library opened in 1928, the classically symmetrical
structure fronted with six marble columns stood out as a bold yet elegant
structure. Nearly 80 years later, the
building is still turning heads.
13, The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Hartford
awarded the library with The Office Building of the Year (TOBY) award in the
historic building category. The TOBY award recognizes excellence in building
management, operational efficiency, tenant retention, emergency planning and
community impact. The Olin Library won in the "proper maintenance of the
historical building," category.
"It was built in 1928 and
still has that old world charm," said Pete Caniano, chairman of the TOBY
award committee. "I could find myself getting lost in a great book in Olin
all the time."
district manager for American Building Maintenance Janitorial Services of
Danbury, Conn., provides janitorial services to Wesleyan and nominated the
library for the award.
nominated Olin because I felt it had great architectural character and it
has gone through some excellent architectural renovations throughout its
history that add to its appeal," he said. "Olin library is a wonderful
landmark on campus."
Caniano and members of the
judging panel inspected the facility, grading it on physical attractiveness,
cleanliness, mechanical functionality, aesthetics and standard building
operation equipment and procedures. Each category had to receive a passing
grade for the building to be considered for the award. Caniano said
Wesleyan's Physical Plant had a lot to do with the outcome of the judges'
building had been simply attractive and architecturally marvelous but not
maintained well and had antiquated maintenance systems, it would not have
won," he said.
noted many positive points while touring the library. The stacks, he said,
are well organized; the building is kept in pristine condition; and the
ambiance of the reading room "is exceptional." He also favored the private
alcoves used for student research and described the library's staff as "very
building is kept in pristine condition and is very practical for student
use," he said.
Olin Memorial Library was
first opened as a memorial to Stephen Olin, Wesleyan's president from 1842
to 1851, and his son Stephen Henry Olin, class of 1866, a Wesleyan trustee
for 45 years and the university's acting president in 1922 and 1923.
original plans for the building were begun by Henry Bacon, who designed the
Lincoln Memorial, and after his death were completed by the architectural
firm of McKim, Mead & White. It currently provides Wesleyan's 2,730 students
and 1,060 staff and faculty members with 1.5 million publications and a
variety of electronic and archival services.
A major renovation and expansion of the building, completed in 1986, was
designed by Perry, Dean, Rogers & Partners. It nearly doubled the space
available in Olin for study areas and collections.
163-foot wide fašade surmounted by a pediment and capped by a balustrade.
Marble, exterior and interior, amounted for 20 percent of the final
construction cost of $727,000.
the library has won at a local level, it has an opportunity to advance to
the regional level in each of the eight North American regions of BOMA
International. Regional winners advance to the international level.