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University of Texas at Austin Harry Ransom Center Renovation

Austin, Texas

Client: University of Texas at Austin
Architect: Lake|Flato Architects
Completion: 2001

The Harry Ransom Center is one of the world’s finest cultural archives, housing over thirty million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and 100,000 works of art. Critical holdings include the Gutenberg Bible (c. 1455), the world’s first photograph (c. 1826), important paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and major manuscript collections of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Tennessee Williams.

Located on a corner site at The University of Texas at Austin, the Ransom Center project involved a gut renovation of the first and second floors of a 1960’s brutalist style building. Extensive gallery space for rotating exhibitions occupies the first floor while the second floor houses a Research Wing, providing facilities commensurate with the collections. Light is thoughtfully used to expose and articulate the rich wood, stone, glass and steel material palette.