The Geisel Library

Giesel LibraryThe Geisel Library is a unique structure that occupies an area at the University of California, San Diego campus. It is the main library in the campus and houses the Arts Library, the Mandeville Special Collections Library, the Science and Engineering Library and the Social Sciences and Humanities Library. The library was named in honor of Theodore Seuss Geisel, more popularly known as Dr Seuss, and his wife Audrey who were residents of the area.


The library building and its distinctive structure was designed by William Pereira and planned to sit at the head of a canyon. The primary design is an example of brutalist architecture which is characterized by striking angular and repetitive shapes often revealing concrete as the primary texture of the buildings.


The building was designed during the late 1960’s by William Pereira. Construction work on the library was done by 1970 after being worked on for two years. The first books were moved into the building by June of 1970.

The 8-story building stands 110 feet high, designed to look like a tower with the succeeding stories eventually spreading out into several different terraces. The two lower stories formed the structure’s pedestal with the six stories above providing the stepped tower or terraced design that has made the building quite uniquely distinctive.

The building’s widest portion is at 248 feet if placed at ground level. The widest floor space covers 210 feet and is located on the sixth level of the structure. Primary materials used for the building is reinforced building and glass.

There are four large cast in place slope beam columns that are anchored on the heavily concreted footings that bear the weight and stress of the cantilevered structure. These beams that are situated on the four sides of the structure angle upward to 45 degrees towards the sixth level. The beams and their counterpart on the other side are also tied to each other from the fifth and sixth levels by 300 post-tensioning rods each made of high tensile steel one fourth inch in diameter.


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