Analysis of the Low Memorial Library, Columbia University


The Low Memorial Library is an iconic establishment built on the main campus of Columbia University in the years 1895-1897. The Low library building is a symbolical center of Columbia University and New York at large because of its beautiful architecture, its invigorating marble white and its profound aura of revolutionary thinking. The overall architectural style is established on the basic plan of Pantheon in Rome together with the Parthenon in Greece. It is a representation of the largest all-granite dome in America. From all angles the Low library is ultimately appealing with its typical neoclassical theme based on an Ionic portico and batholithic columns resting on white marble bases.

The construction system is founded on concrete and plastered steel trusses with the plan essentially based on a Greek cross design. The void in the middle is a dominant element that is encircled by an elaborate ambulatory while the spacing, dome and directional orientation of the necessities of the structure are overall overpowering. On the exterior, the Low library building portrays classic features typical 18th century architecture with refined particulars like the moldings and the antefixes at the cornice of the drum. The building therefore possesses particularly elaborated details and is truly an outstanding work of creative architecture and craftsmanship.

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