A new three-story research pavilion provides a new controlled main entrance and houses administrative offices and a high security exhibit area.
A variety of formal and informal gathering spaces increase collaboration opportunities.
The rare book reading room supports use and research opportunities.

Klau Library – Hebrew Union College

Cincinnati, OH

Project Description

As the main research library at Hebrew Union College, Klau Library has the largest collection of Hebraic literature in the western hemisphere (second only to Jerusalem in the world). The library’s ancient and rare materials require constant, skilled care and maintenance as well as constant access.

As part of updating a master plan to determine the best program to meet the college’s goals of sustainable growth and a more aesthetically pleasing campus, SHP provided a facility assessment of three buildings on campus. The process included the assessment of existing conditions, the development of floor plans, the completion of a department space summary and the creation of 5-, 10- and 20-year implementation strategies based on priorities with cost estimates. The study determined that the exterior skin was not sound and didn’t meet thermal envelope expectations, requiring a complete reskinning of the building. The resulting project included a 42,000sf renovation and a 15,000sf three-story addition that provides a new main entrance to the library.

Key Features

  • The open, inviting space offers comfortable seating, natural light and clear visibility while addressing the other buildings on campus in a more pedestrian-friendly and welcoming way.
  • All project work was completed while keeping the building and campus operational. To support access to the collection during construction, SHP developed a detailed sequencing solution to maintain secure locations for the materials. This included the relocation and reinstallation of special collections. The construction staging area was very limited due to the nature of the site, requiring careful planning of construction sequences and deliveries with the builder.
  • To protect the pre-1900 and rare collection, special HVAC systems and controls were installed. Even with this new system, the building operates at 40% greater efficiency than it did prior to the project.
  • A new campus geothermal system, new life safety, and technology and voice/ data communication upgrades were also part of the project.
  • The project was completed on time and $500,000 under budget. The project was completed without impacting daily operations or access to the library’s collection and with no damage or loss to the collection itself.

Year Completed


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