The first two unusual library buildings commissioned by Brown in the 1960s from the same architectural firm, this represents another sea change in library design from the previous university library in both style and format. Warner, Burns, Toan & Lund’s seven-story (two completely below ground) monolith is part of the new formalism movement of the early 1960s, perhaps best known in the work of Edward Durell Stone, especially in his American embassy in New Delhi. The building’s concentration of heavier masonry cladding on the upper stories and broad expanses of glass on the lower stories gives the building an odd floating quality. The entrance lets into the middle floor of the building, where circulation, cataloguing, and reference rooms are located; reading rooms and book stacks are above and below. Rockefeller, Class of 1897, was a generous university benefactor.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture