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New circulation desk at the Art + Architecture Library

July 21, 2008 – As soon as you enter the Art + Architecture Library, now located on the first floor of Cowgill Hall, you will see a spectacular new addition to the library space. Tim Castine, a member of the School of Architecture + Design who works out of the Burchard Shop, has designed and hand crafted a beautiful but very practical circulation desk.


Tim returned to Tech 1 & 1/2 years after finishing graduate work in the architecture school. He approached the then librarian, Heather Gendron, about building a new circulation desk for the renovated library space that would be more befitting a school of design.

After about 6 months of kicking around ideas, he found the right concept for the desk. Tim's working style involves a lot of experimentation and full-size mock ups. He starts by making models first and the drawing comes later. The only drawings used are sketches that tackle design problems as they arise. This means no AutoCad, no Rhino, no Revit, no Sketchup, just working with the materials and forms. Sometimes this requires discarding things that took several days to make.

After trying several different materials, he ended up using quarter sawn douglas fir for the curve, which was epoxied onto a bent laminated frame. Most of the other wood parts are hard maple, either quarter sawn or plain sawn depending on what was visually and structurally necessary. The drawer boxes and cantilever over the demagnetizer are rusted steel which required about four months of humid summer heat and a concoction of hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and salt to become what they are today. There are pieces of quarter sawn sycamore here and there for variety. Concrete was used for the book-drop because of textural considerations and construction concerns.

Literally thousands of hours went into the creation of the desk. Tim did have some help, though, and has identified several students to acknowledge: Mark Delissio for his artistic welding, Scott Dansereau and David Smith for building the staging platform, and Obi Elechi and Jeff Franklin for helping to pour the concrete. The materials were bought using funds donated to the library by Preston Andrews.

Newman Library Hours

Spring 2017

Sunday: Opens at 9:00 A.M.
Monday-Thursday: 24 Hours
Friday: Closes at 10 P.M.
Saturday: 9:00 A.M.-10:00 P.M.