Exeter, New Hampshire

Phillips Exeter Academy
Class of 1945 Library

The Class of 1945 Library occupies a central and cherished place on the Exeter campus. Designed by Louis Kahn and completed in 1971, the Library is widely honored as one America’s most significant 20th-century buildings. 

Our Master Plan sets a phased strategy for the Library’s preservation, renewal, and revitalization. Completed work includes the repurposing of the building’s ground floor as a student commons—a flexible new campus center for collaborative study, events, and socializing. New meeting rooms on upper stack levels support the Academy’s increasing need for group study venues. The renovation of the building’s basement co-locates the Academy’s special collections and archives in climate-controlled storage. Offices and a flexible reading area, reconfigurable for lectures and symposia, support a new collections-related curriculum.  

The original mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems throughout the Library are replaced with new energy-efficient systems, supported by a new mechanical room constructed underground to preserve the Library’s original footprint and exterior envelope.   

Phillips Exeter Academy
Completed 2015 - 2021
Project Size
Restoration & Renovation | 96,000 GSF
New Construction | 1,400 GSF
Library, Exhibition, Classroom, Commons
The renovated space offers a well-lit area for storing and consulting the academy’s archival material and extensive special collections. Glass cases flanking the reading room walls hold books written by Exeter alumni. Behind the cases stand two new precision climate-controlled storage vaults with a gas-vapor fire protection system. New lighting appeared to raise the ceilings while maintaining Kahn’s original structure and materials.
Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects
Project Team
Thomas Hotaling AIA, Ed Rice AIA, Ian Ford AIA, Josh Lacasse AIA, David Spears AIA (ABA/Annum); Robert Silman Associates (Structural); Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering, P.C. (MEP / Tel-Data); brightspot strategy (Library Programing); Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture (Landscape); Jensen Hughes (Code); Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting (Lighting); Acentech (Acoustical); Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (Envelope Assessment); Wil-Spec (Specifications); Allegion (Hardware); Donnegan Systems (Collections Storage); Shawmut Design and Construction (Construction Management); Peter Vanderwarker (Photography)