North Carolina Architectural Photography – NCSU James B. Hunt Library

Since the North Carolina State University James B. Hunt Jr. Library opened a year ago, I’ve spent a few breaks of spare time capturing photos for fun. If unfamiliar with the Hunt Library, it’s like the Epcot Center of libraries.  If you regularly follow this blog some photos will be familiar as I’ve previously posted them.

Okay, here goes, ready?

This is the library. Safe to say there’s nothing like it anywhere else on campus. The building is a technological beast and has all the signs and symptoms of being a highly sustainable piece of modern architecture.

Emerge (2013)

I find it intruiging how the building’s exterior transforms from broad daylight to evening to overcast weather to even snow.

Hunt (2013)

You know how you enter some buildings and you’re surprised at what you find?  You see the outside, venture in and think, “Well I wasn’t expecting that.” This isn’t one of those buildings.

From the vehicular entry side is this wonderful yellow staircase that pierces the lower level and leads up to the main library.  This view is now impossible as there are permanent-looking displays dedicated to Governor Hunt.  Nice thought, tragic application.

This is the robot that fetches books for you.  You know, back in MY day we had card catalogs.  When we discovered the catalog card of our book was lost we asked the librarian for assistance.  The librarian would point us in the correct direction, we’d wander among moldy book stacks for ten minutes only to discover the book was missing or stolen.  Daggummit kids these days, you have it easy!

If the technology of the Hunt library is like Epcot, then the furniture selection is like Disneyland.  The two-story public study/lounge looks like an airport terminal in which a grade school child with unlimited budget got to select all the furnishings.

I can see the conversation now.

“So which piece of furniture do you want to order?”




“You can’t order every furniture design that ever existed.”


What NCSU really needs to do is treat the library furniture like the zoo. You know how ticket kiosks offer pamphlet guides and posted signs across the zoo describes all the animals you’re seeing? Similarly, the library should have a hand-out and signs posted inside the building describing the piece of furniture, when it was designed, and by who.

Sarcasm aside – the space is fun. People really love spending time here.  I don’t see how students can fall asleep in a space like this, but being who they are, I’ve seen many manage to headthunk right into their laptop.

Venturing upstairs is also a treat, the interior flow and wayfinding of this library is exceptional.  This is study/conference room in which the light box changes colors.  I don’t know how any work could possibly get done in a room like this.  Maybe it’s a human laboratory experiment?

It’s definitely a photographer’s playground.  NCSU is incredibly photographer-friendly to anyone wandering into the library to the point they encourage it.  Good for them, as it only increases positive attention to the university.

Both daylighting and artificial lighting in this building are well-executed.

Okay, that’s it for the Hunt Library.  Hope you enjoyed and if you’re ever in the area, you cannot miss visiting here.


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