Cory Library is really cool

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The Grahamstown area has experienced the worst drought in forty years, as reported in Grocott's Mail of 10 March 2009. On certain days, temperatures have soared. In Cory Library, however, the staff have managed to keep their cool!

Cory Library is on the lower ground floor of the Eden Grove Building. The inspiration for the design, as interpreted by Andrew Thomson of Osmonde Lange and Mosienyane Architects, follows the 1980s principles of Hugo Stehkämper, former Director of the Historical Archives of the City of Cologne, and Dr. Helmut Bansa, former Head of Conservation at the Bavarian State Library. They promoted ‘natural’ methods of air-conditioning in libraries and archives, provided primarily by architectural means.  The Stehkämper principles have also guided the construction of the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, Israel, with an equally extreme climate.

Important are:

  • slope of the site
  • solar orientation
  • wind vectors
  • natural, locally found materials: clay, stone, wood
  • overhanging eaves
  • retention of exisiting vegetation
  • triple-layer cavity walls
  • earth mass as the primary thermal

Read more about this intiitative in Shirley Kabwato's article: "Preserving archival collections in the Cory Library for Historical Research: challenges and achievements", Escarbica Journal v. 27, p. 116-127.

For photographs, see Sandy Rowolt's presentation to the South African Preservation and Conservation Group (SAPCON), 2005.

[Pic: Eden Grove by night: Obie Oberholtzer]