Engaging Passion, Inspiring Discovery

University of Pittsburgh, Hillman Library

To Project Types

Pittsburgh, PA | 230,000 SF

Over four phases, the library of the future comes to life at the University of Pittsburgh
Hillman Library Entrance Coming in Phase 4: A new, welcoming glass entry on the ground floor will offer more casual forum areas and small group gathering spaces where students can collaborate.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library is radically reprogramming spaces and services to better connect students to digital information and the expertise of librarians. Space that once housed printed information is being opened for people to collaborate and create. When the multi-year, multi-phased Hillman Library renovation is complete, it will better support 21st century students and the campus community through enhanced digital services in a welcoming environment that inspires discovery.

The renovation will transform the library’s physical space to address three primary program enhancements: Creation: in the form of digital resources, including data visualization and making; Discovery: by empowering students to digitally browse special collections and unique research; Discourse and Dissemination: The new library will provide spaces (some quiet, some collaborative) for study and interdisciplinary research. Its design helps establish the library as a forum—where the academic community and the public can come together and share knowledge.

Hillman Library Screen Six screens across and three screens high, this interactive digital display at Hillman (designed in collaboration with Potion) makes the process of searching and discovery more engaging and more visible.
Hillman daylit study space Quiet, but not isolated: Phase 1 gave students more daylit spaces to work.

Its design helps establish the library as a forum—where the academic community and the public can come together and share knowledge.

Strategically rolling out in phases, the reimagined library will allow students to easily see and survey offerings so they can follow their passions, unlock hidden talents, and connect with peers. The transformed library will include a writing center, bookbinding lab, and video production suite. The Data Visualization Lab will be a place to combine different computational research threads to find new outcomes.

Hillman Entrance Accent Coming in Phase 4: Unique resources, like the bookbinding lab will be organized around a new central stair in the atrium to encourage movement and discovery.

The transformed Hillman Library will feature a new café, reading areas, and audio/video suites. Individual study rooms and nearly 100 enclosed group study rooms are equipped with modern technology to video conference, present, and exhibit material. An ‘Open Lab’ makerspace will provide virtual visualization, 3D printing and laser cutting, Access to the library’s extensive special collections of artwork, personal papers, manuscripts, and photos will be available through interactive displays throughout the space.

Phases 1 through 3 have been completed. The 4th and final phase is expected to be complete in 2024.

Hillman Cafe In progress during phase 3: A custom-designed wall will wrap the central core of the building, providing a backdrop for the café and open reading areas. The wall’s “fins,” are being fabricated from white oak panels applied at varying depths to evoke the texture and curves found in tree bark.