While a partner at Garza/Bomberger & Associates, Jesse Garza led the design of a 53,000-square-foot replacement library for Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. OLLU was founded by the Congregation of Divine Providence in 1895 and now offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and minors, more than 14 master’s programs, and three doctoral programs.
The new Sister Elizabeth Anne Sueltenfuss Library is located on the east side of the campus, which was originally designed and built in the neo-Gothic style, with subsequent campus additions completed in styles appropriate for their time period.
The library’s location was selected to unify the main campus with an expansion to the east, which was separated from the main campus by a commuter street. This connection is reinforced by the building’s location on the site, which orients its primary entrance to the campus’s historically significant Main Building.
At Our Lady of the Lake University, a replacement library unifies the expanding campus and adds important new service offerings.
The library’s three floors provide services to undergraduate/graduate students, faculty, and the surrounding communities. The prominently located two-story main entrance leads to the main floor through a grand stair. The main floor includes the library stacks, study rooms, graduate-student study carrels, and a special collections room for the rare book collection.
The main floor is visually connected to the third floor through an atrium space that opens to the upper level. The sides of the opening include a mural by nationally renowned artist Jesse Trevino, which was moved from the original Our Lady of the Lake library to its current location. The upper level includes additional stack areas, study carrels, and study areas.
The building’s lower floor including a technology center for distance learning, a conference center, and library support services.
The interior architecture includes a modern interpretation of neo-gothic elements in the windows, doors, and exposed steel roof structure. The building offers a spacious interior, ceiling heights, and natural light diffused through grand masonry arches set in front of the glass walls and windows.
On the building’s exterior, there are modern interpretations of a Gothic arch in the design of the main entrance and the exterior windows and wall construction. The exterior further ties the building to its surroundings through the use of brick and cut stone familiar to the original campus.