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An original copy of The Declaration of Independence, rare books and maps illuminating history are preserved in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia’s American History Institute and Special Collections Library.
This state-of-the-art, $26 million building includes 300,000 rare books, 12 million manuscripts, 4,000 maps and thousands of photographs. Some 60,000 square feet were built underground to preserve the Special Collections Library.
The above-ground 11,000 square-foot Harrison Institute contains seminar and study rooms, galleries, and an auditorium.
The exterior is brick neoclassical architecture to reflect the rich heritage of the surrounding Palladian-inspired Jeffersonian buildings on the Central Grounds of UVA.
The architect was Hartman-Cox of Washington, D.C., and the general contractor was Skanska USA Inc. of Raleigh, N.C. According to lead Architect Lee Becker, “Thomas Jefferson still influences new buildings on the UVA campus.”
The Jeffersonian influences include his use of the "classical language of architecture,” with a “certain quirkiness.” Each building is slightly different, though they share the overall look, including columns, red brick and large windows.
The below-grade construction maintains green space, security issues, and the interior climate at 63°F and at 33% relative humidity.
“That’s important for a collection of books that are insured for $300 million,” said UVA’s Construction Manager, Steve Ratliffe.
Thick double walls, service drains, and water alarms also are installed below grade along the perimeter of the building. Under the collection, there is a 36 inch thick concrete slab.
“It is essentially a building within a building,” Ratliffe explained.
The roof insulation also plays a major role. Nail Base roof insulation panels, manufactured by Atlas Roofing Corp., were installed under the 6,183-square-foot roof.
“One of the things we were looking for in the roof insulation was a high long-term R-Value, and the Atlas polyiso gave us that,” said Ratcliff of the HCFC-free ACFoam insulation in Nail Base.
Tom McGraw, the executive vice president for W.A. Lynch Roofing in Charlottesville, suggested to the design team that the Atlas Nail Base product would ensure even surfaces for the slate shingles.
“We felt we had a better option if we used Atlas Nail Base,” McGraw said.
The university’s representative was concerned that a metal roof deck could be exposed to freezing temperatures because of thermal transfer through the metal Zees, which would create a cold metal deck exposed to warm air on the inner side. This situation can potentially foster the development of moisture, which creates a poor environment for rare objects.
The Atlas Nail Base insulation can avoid that potential problem, and the building team installed 4.5-inch thick Nail Base, which delivered a 25.6 R-value.
“We always know we are going to have success with this product,” McGraw said.
Although Atlas Nail Base was a premium addition to the originally specified roofing system, UVA was willing to invest more for a building constructed the right way the first time, McGraw noted.
Nail Base insulation panels are composed of a thermally efficient layer of ACFoam polyiso insulation bonded to 7/16” APA/TECO rated OSB on the topside and a glass fiber reinforced felt facer on the bottom. The roofing contractor realized some labor savings since the Atlas Nail Base combines a nailable surface with insulation and installs as a single piece.
The roof has four hips and W.A. Lynch staggered the joints of the Nail Base, which was cut on site 30 percent of the time. Atlas 6-inch screw fasteners attach the panels. The fasteners finished flush, leaving a smooth substrate for Buckingham-Virginia Slate Corp. shingles.
Other significant architectural features were exposed 20 oz. lead-coated copper covering curved dormers. Two flat roofs were covered with flat locked and soldered lead-coated copper by Hussey. Number 100 copper snow guards by Berger Brothers were installed on the 6/12 slope portion of the roof.
UVA officially opened the Special Collections Library in August and the History Institute in November.
“We wanted to make our special collections materials available to faculty and students by the start of the semester,” University Librarian Karin Wittenborg said of the decision not to open the Special Collections Library and the History Institute simultaneously.
The collections materials will be retrieved from 12.82 miles of shelving in 146 electronically controlled units on the first floor, which are handled by library staff only.
Ratliffe noted that he has been the construction manager for the last three years on the Special Collections Library. However, the building had been in the planning stages for more than 15 years.
Client: Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library P.O. Box 400110 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4110 (434) 924-3025 Fax: (434) 924-4968 www.lib.virginia.edu/small/
Lead Architect: Lee Becker Hartman Cox 1074 Thomas Jefferson Street NW Washington, D.C. 20007 (202) 333-6446 Fax: (202) 333-3802 firstname.lastname@example.org
General Contractor: Skanska USA, Building Inc. 1633 Littleton Road Parsippany, NJ 07054 (973) 656-6500Fax: (973) 334-6408
Roofing Contractor:Tom McGrawW.A. Lynch Roofing1234 River RoadCharlottesville, VA 22901(434) email@example.com
Atlas Sales Rep:Harvey SorumSorum Marketing2202 Wayne AvenueCharlottesville, VA 22901(434) 977-4354Fax: (434) firstname.lastname@example.org
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