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Wednesday, August 10 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
A Creative Force in the Art Library

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The Last Doge's Groom: How Villa Manin Stable Became a Regional Institute for Friuli Venezia Giulia Cultural Heritage and its Library 
Simonetta Pasqualis dell'Antonio, Information Specialist and Secretary of the University Language Centre, Università degli Studi di Trieste

Fleet Library at Rhode Island School of Design: Ten Years and Counting
Carol Terry, Director of Library Services, Rhode Island School of Design
Mark Pompelia, Visual + Material Resource Librarian, Rhode Island School of Design 

Moderated by Heather Gendron, Director, Robert B. Haas Family Art Library, Yale University, and President, ARLIS/NA, with closing remarks from Melanie Emerson, Head, Ricker Library of Architecture and Art, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Pasqualis, The Last Doge's Groom: How Villa Manin Stable Became a Regional Institute for Friuli Venezia Giulia Cultural Heritage and its Library

The last Doge of Venice, Lodovico Manin, was the landlord of Passariano and to his family belongs the beautiful Villa Manin where this story takes place. The Villa survived many historical hardships: military occupation over the centuries (Napoleonic troops at the end of the eighteenth century, Austro-Hungarian and German troops during World War I); the inevitable decline of the manor due to the Manin family’s loss of power and prestige; and then the last blow, the earthquake of 1976 which devastated Friuli but was the beginning of a rebirth for the Villa. A few months after the earthquake, the Regione Autonoma FVG issued a law which established a School for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage with laboratories for didactic activities and a library to support the activity of the Centre for Cataloguing and Restoration of Cultural Heritage. The location was Villa Manin.

In 2015 the School evolved into the Istituto Regionale per il Patrimonio Culturale del Friuli Venezia Giulia (IPAC). IPAC has the mission to promote research, learning and training in the field of conservation and restoration of our cultural heritage, meant as a public and popular good; to support political action which is centered on landscape protection and promotion, with a global and historical vision of cultural heritage; to assess and analyze the risk and vulnerability of a landscape that heavily depends on its cultural heritage; and to promote active participation of citizens, local authorities, universities, and schools in preserving our heritage and memory. Its Library, its Photographic Archive, and its Restoration School--they are all proactive agents of the many activities in which IPAC is engaged.

Terry & Pompelia, Fleet Library at Rhode Island School of Design: Ten Years Counting

What happens when you turn an iconic banking hall into a contemporary library of art and design? The Fleet Library at Rhode Island School of Design is a successful reinvention of the art library through the adaptive re-use of a historic bank building in downtown Providence. While always beloved by the school, the former iteration of the library was full of character and an intimacy that suited its analog holdings, but penned in by insufficient space that inhibited teaching and meant a third of the collection was in storage. It was unable to embrace its twenty-first-century future.

The 2006 opening in the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust bank (York & Sawyer, 1919) was the culmination of a design-forward building project that began with non-site specific program development in the mid-1990s and, following a collaborative design and construction process, resulted in “one of the world’s most amazing libraries”. In addition to quadrupling the library’s space, the magnificent banking hall serves as the library’s main reading room while the second floor accommodates a new reading room for Archives and Special Collections and expanded space for the Visual + Material Resource Center. In keeping with the building’s co-function as student residence hall with five hundred beds on nine floors above, the library’s spaces and collections invite student habitation and activation. In a studio-based environment such as RISD, the Fleet Library easily satisfies the need for a commons and for “place” while keeping browsable collections readily at hand. It has achieved an optimal balance of analog and electronic resources in an attractive and inviting setting.

So has the building met its promise after ten years? What have been the unanticipated questions? Have the furnishings been successful? And what has changed from the original intent? Evidence of congruence with the program goals and details of the most significant change to the space—the transition from Slide Room to Material Resource Center—will be presented. This co-presented paper will explore how the Fleet Library at RISD has preserved its legacy while forging its future, using its nascent Material Resource Center as a case study for exploration and learning.


avatar for Heather Gendron

Heather Gendron

President, ARLIS/NA, Yale University Library

avatar for Melanie Emerson

Melanie Emerson

Head, Ricker Library of Architecture & Art, University of Illinois
avatar for Mark Pomelia

Mark Pomelia

Visual + Material Resource Librarian, Rhode Island School of Design
Visual + Material Resource Librarian, Rhode Island School of Design
avatar for Carol S Terry

Carol S Terry

Retired from RISD

Wednesday August 10, 2016 10:30am - 12:00pm

Attendees (28)