Phillips Exeter Academy Library, Exeter, U.S – Louis Kahn

The Phillips Exeter Academy Library in Exeter, New Hampshire, U.S., with 160,000 volumes on nine levels and a shelf capacity of 250,000 volumes, is the largest secondary school library in the world. It is part of the Phillips Exeter Academy, an independent boarding school.

When it became clear in the 1950s that the library had outgrown its existing building, the school initially hired an architect who proposed a traditional design for the new building. Deciding instead to construct a library with a contemporary design, the school gave the commission to Louis Kahn in 1965. In 1997 the library received the Twenty-five Year Award from the American Institute of Architects, an award that recognizes architecture of enduring significance that is given to no more than one building per year.